U.S. Women’s Open runner-up Nasa Hataoka finished in a four-way tie for the lead at the Meijer LPGA Classic in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on Thursday.
Hataoka, Lauren Stephenson, Leona Maguire and Charley Hull each turned in a 7-under-par 65 in the first round at Blythefield Country Club. Ariya Jutanugarn and Min Lee are one stroke behind at 6 under. Eleven more players are tied at 5 under.
Hataoka and Maguire finished their rounds without a bogey.
“This course usually everyone hits low scores, so it’s really important for me to play four good rounds,” Hataoka said. “So hoping to do that for tomorrow, too.”
Hataoka, 22, is a three-time winner on the LPGA Tour but hasn’t won since the Kia Classic in March 2019. She lost to Yuka Saso on the third playoff hole at the U.S. Women’s Open in May after both women finished 72 holes at 4-under 280.
Maguire had a red-hot Thursday for the second straight week. She also fired a 65 in the first round of last week’s LPGA Mediheal Championship in Northern California, where she finished in ninth place.
“It reminds me a lot of home, a lot of golf courses that I would’ve grew up playing at home,” Maguire said. “Very green, some trees. Yeah, drove the ball really well today. Just sort of suited my eye quite well. Tried to just build on that momentum I had last week in San Francisco.”
Hull had eagles on Nos. 14 and 18 to bolster her round.
“I hit good drive and hit like a little draw-y 4-iron into the green and holed like a 35-, 40-foot putt,” Hull said about the shot on the 14th. “And then 18 didn’t quite catch the drive. Haven’t been hitting my driver well today. I hit a drive down there, 7-iron into I think like 10, 15 feet and hole it.”
Stephenson sank six birdies on her first nine holes of the day, the back nine, for a 30 at the turn.
“On the first nine it felt like my ball had like a magnet to the hole. It was like I couldn’t miss,” Stephenson said. “I made probably a 35-footer on one of the par-3s, which is super abnormal for me. But just felt like everything was kind of going my way, so I took advantage of that today.
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