Ariya Jutanugarn leads by one after opening round
The stage was set for the first round of women’s Olympic golf in Rio on Wednesday. The field is stacked with many players who can contend for gold medal honors. The favorites have to include number one player in the world Lydia Ko, Ariya Jutanugarn, Lexi Thompson, Inbee Park and Brooke Henderson. With scoring generally very good the opening day, Jutanugarn took off after an up and down start to take a one shot lead over Inbee Park and Seiyoung Kim, both from South Korea.
Jutanugarn of Thailand, who won the British Open last month, started with par, birdie, birdie, double bogey. After an even par opening four holes, she promptly eagled the par-five fifth, to begin a five-under par stretch over the next six holes. After a bogey at 11, she was steady the rest of the way, finishing with two birdies and five pars for an opening round of six-under par 65.
Park and Kim both had very clean rounds of five birdies and 13 pars, for opening rounds of 66. Nicole Broch Larsen of Denmark is two shots behind Ariya Jutanugarn after posting a round of 67 that was jump started with three birdies over the first four holes. Also at four-under is Candie Kung of Chinese Tapei and Carlota Ciganda of Spain. Ciganda was leading at one point at six-under par before recording a six at the par-four fifteenth.
Four players sit three shots back, including Charley Hull of Great Britain and Lexi Thompson of the United States Thompson was in good position to be just a shot off the lead heading to 18, but a bogey on the par five ended in a round of 68.
Lydia Ko started off slowly and was sitting at one over through nine and even through 14. A hole out from the fairway for eagle on the par-4 fifteenth put Ko in the mix at two-under for the round. Six other players are also at two-under, including Gerina Piller.
Stacy Lewis hit the ball well but couldn’t get a putt to drop and finished with an opening round of 70. Brooke Henderson also shot a 70 and is five behind Ariya Jutanugarn. Other notables in the mix include Suzann Pettersen of Norway and Anna Nordqvist of Sweden, both at even par.
The second round continues Thursday with the final round conclusion and medal ceremony expected on Saturday afternoon.