Sophia Popov surges to first-round lead at Pelican Women's Championship

Ruben Hill
November 22, 2020

Kim Sei-young fired a five-under-par 65 to take a one-shot lead at the halfway stage of the LPGA Tour's Pelican Women's Championship in Florida on Friday.

South Africa's Ashleigh Buhai was in second, two shots back with a first-day 66.

Brazilian Returns During Monaco Defeat, Set to Start Against RB Leipzig in Champions League. "It can kind of jump up and bite you if youre not paying attention, and especially with how windy it was earlier today". "I think mentally I've never felt as freed up as I do now". "I just want to think about focus on myself and what I have to do".

She skipped her title defence at the pandemic-delayed ANA Inspiration in September, and is returning to the LPGA tour for the first time in nearly a year.

"It was playing like 115 front, 127 hole, and there was a little bit of downwind", McDonald said.

"I was able to strike it better today".

"I don't feel as stressed about things since I got that win under my belt", McDonald said.

The first-year tournament was originally to be held the same week as the PGA Championship in May. The 11-time LPGA Tour victor birdied four of the first five holes and added another on the par-5 14th.

"It was a tough to make the chance to birdie on the back nine because pin position really tough", Kim said. You have to miss it in the right spot, and I feel like I missed it in the wrong spot a few times. I hit it close on 17 and then holed a nice one on 18 for birdie.

Popov was the surprise victor at Royal Troon in August.

Popov said winning her first major has boosted her confidence to the point where she goes into tournaments believing she can win.

The Northern Ireland star was only two shots behind overnight but slipped to two over for the round with her fourth bogey at the 10th, although she did get back into red numbers with a birdie at 11 followed by three in four holes from the 14th. "I think that also helped to push me".

The reigning British Women's Open champion began her dynamic birdie run on the fifth hole seizing the opening round lead in a LPGA event for the first time in her career.

"Played really solid. The front nine I hit barely any greens and made a ton of up-and-downs".

McDonald had put the pressure on the world No 2 when she bounced back from a double-bogey at the eighth with a ideal tee shot to the short 12th, where her punched pitching-wedge pitched 15 feet short of the pin, took the left-to-right break and rolled gently into the cup for an ace.

Elizabeth Szokol was 5 under after a 66.

Lydia Ko had a 67 to join Minjee Lee (69) and Lindsey Weaver (68) at 3 under.

Canadians Brooke Henderson, who is seeking her 10th LPGA title, and Alena Sharp headlined a group of eight golfers a stroke back at two-under 68.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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