ADELAIDE, Australia — Defending champion Nelly Korda shot a 4-under 69 to trail Jodi Ewart Shadoff by three strokes after the first round of the LPGA’s Women’s Australian Open on Thursday.
Ewart Shadoff had seven birdies in her round of 66 at Royal Adelaide and held a one-stroke lead over U.S. Open champion Jeongeun Lee6, who had five birdies in a seven-hole stretch in the middle of her round, and Inbee Park.
Americans Marina Alex, Amy Olson and Jillian Hollis were tied for fourth with 68s.
Ewart Shadoff has 20 top-10 finishes on the LPGA Tour without a victory.
“I feel ready now,” she said. “I feel like every part of my game is up to the challenge. It’s hopefully going to be a good year and hopefully get that win.”
Korda was optimistic after her opening round.
“I drove the ball really well, kind of didn’t take advantage of all my opportunities, but it’s just the first day so hopefully I can just build from here on,” Korda said.
Five-time champion Karrie Webb, whose lead-up to the tournament was hampered by a virus, shot 74. British veteran Laura Davies had a 79.
Because of the China virus outbreak, the Women’s Australian Open will be the last LPGA tournament for a month after the cancellation of three scheduled events in Thailand, Singapore and China.