Playing partners Suzann Pettersen and Na Yeon Choi took advantage of perfect morning conditions Thursday to share the first-round lead with Jodi Ewart Shadoff in the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
Finishing before the temperature climbed into the low 90s in the Coachella Valley, Pettersen and Choi had bogey-free rounds of 4-under-par 68 at Mission Hills in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Ewart Shadoff matched them in the windier afternoon at the first major golf championship of the year.
“The course is perfect,” Pettersen said. “Greens are rolling pure.”
Pettersen birdied the final three holes on her front nine and got to 4 under with a birdie on the par-4 seventh, her 16th hole. The Norwegian, a 10-time LPGA Tour winner ranked eighth in the world, had consecutive victories late last season in South Korea and Taiwan and won a European tour event last month in China.
The South Korean Choi, third in the world ranking, fed off the pairing with Pettersen.
“I think I played well because she played well, too,” said Choi, who won the U.S. Women’s Open and the Titleholders last year. “We motivated each other.”
Playing in the last group of the day, England’s Ewart Shadoff made a 20-foot putt on the No. 14 to take the lead at 5 under. She missed a 4-foot par putt on the par-4 16th to drop back.
Tie atop Texas
Matt Bettencourt looked more like a PGA Tour winner than someone who’s 183rd on the money list.
Peter Tomasulo looked like anything but a player fighting to keep his tour card.
After each shot 5-under 67, Bettencourt and Tomasulo are tied for the lead after the first round of the Texas Open in San Antonio.