Beth Bader, who has never finished higher than fourth in more than a decade on the LPGA tour, lead after one round of the inaugural Lotte Championship at Ko Olina
Bader, in one of the last groups today, shot 4-under par 68 and is ahead of four players one stroke back. She had a two-stroke lead before carding her only bogey of the day on her final hole of the round.
“It feels good,” said Bader, playing in her first LPGA tour event of the season. “Been a while since I’ve been here. … But it’s good. I practiced hard.”
Bader fired five birdies, including four on her back nine.
Angela Stanford, Jiyai Shin, Brittany Lang and Yani Tseng lurked at 3-under after shooting 69.
Lang and Shin were among the players successfully battling strong winds in the morning. Others were not as fortunate, including Hawaii products Michelle Wie and Stephanie Kono, who also played in the morning.
Wie shot 78 to complete her round at 6-over. Kono was 7-over 79.
Playing in the afternoon, Shayna Miyajima also shot 78, and Ayaka Kaneko is the only local product with a good chance of making the cut after she shot 2-over 74.
Wie had two double bogeys on the first four holes.
“I had a lot of fun despite the bad score,” said Wie, who later made two birdies.
Kono bogeyed the second through fifth holes.
“That wind is crazy,” Lang said. “I hit the ball fantastic. When you hit pure, solid shots, the wind does not affect it as much. I hit the ball really solid and gave myself a lot of chances and I putted really well with my new putter.”
Lang has yet to win on the LPGA tour. But the 7th-year pro had three top-five finishes last year.
Shin has eight career wins, most recently at the 2010 Mizuno Classic.
“This morning my goal was even (par), because pretty tough course and wind makes so difficult,” Shin said. “My strength is accuracy. … I just played simple.”
Stanford won the last previous LPGA tournament in Hawaii, the 2009 SBS Open at Turtle Bay.
“Flying over all those positive memories came flooding back,” Stanford said. “I love Hawaii. I love being here. I love the atmosphere, the people.”