LPGA Tour News: 2022 ISPS Handa World Invitational presented by AVIV Clinics – First-Round Notes: Doherty leads by a stroke

ISPS Handa World Invitational presented by AVIV Clinics

Galgorm Castle, Massereene Golf Club | Ballymena, Northern Ireland | Aug. 11-14, 2022

First-Round Notes

August 11, 2022

Galgorm Course Setup: 37-36—73; 6,618 yards

Massereene Course Setup: 36-36—72; 6,641 yards
Weather: Sunny skies with light winds 4-8mph; temperatures reaching high 70s

Amanda Doherty

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AMANDA DOHERTY LEADS WITH MAJOR NAMES LOOMING AT ISPS HANDA WORLD INVITATIONAL

As the clouds dissipated over Galgorm and Massareene Golf Clubs, one LPGA Tour rookie rose to the top of the ISPS Handa World Invitational presented by AVIV Clinicis – 2021 Epson Tour graduate, Amanda Doherty. In her first appearance in Northern Ireland, Doherty carded an almost blemish-free day with a 6-under 67 on the par-73 Galgorm course, tying a career-low 18 holes for the American.

“I was really just trying to stay in the moment today, and I feel like I was just kind of in that mindset starting the day,” said Doherty, who last shot a 67 in the final round of the Amundi Evian Championship. “I stayed there and I stayed patient. I know it’s kind of cliche, but it works. I was hitting the ball well. I made a couple good putts and there were some reachable par-5s, so just kind of came together.”

Doherty started Thursday with a birdie on her opening hole, No. 10, and carded four more until her lone bogey of the day on No. 4. She went on to make two more in her final four holes including one on the par-5 9th to sleep on an individual 18-hole lead for the first time in her LPGA Tour career.

“You don’t often get to play two courses, so it’s definitely interesting,” said Doherty. “Totally new game plan tomorrow. Just trying to stick to the same thing and stay patient and hopefully have a good round.”

Lurking just one-shot back at -5 is Ireland’s own Leona Maguire, along with major champion Georgia Hall, five-time LET winner Emily Kristine Pedersen and Epson Tour winner Lauren Coughlin. Coughlin and Pedersen posted their 67s at Massareene, with Maguire and Hall recording their 68s at Galgorm. It was a bit of a rocky start for Maguire, where her first 13 holes included an eagle on No. 3, four birdies and four bogeys, but it was the three-straight birdies in her closing holes that sealed a satisfactory end to day one in Northern Ireland.

“Never ideal when you hit your first tee shot out of bounds, but have done well. Didn’t hit the ball particularly well today well off the tee. Few dropped shots but putted really nice to keep myself in there,” said Maguire, who became the first player from Ireland to win on the LPGA Tour earlier this season. “Yeah, always nice to finish with three birdies in the end.”

Hall, who played alongside Maguire, also eagled No. 3, and carded four birdies and one bogey to end her first round in contention. The Englishwoman, who finished in a tie for 14th last year in the tri-sanctioned event, has not missed a cut on Tour since the 2021 U.S. Women’s Open, and has already earned a win on the Ladies European Tour this season at the Aramco Saudi Ladies Interntional in March. “Lots of golf left to be played,” said Hall, “but obviously a solid start and hopefully carry that into tomorrow.”

Seven players sit in a tie for sixth including LPGA Tour rookie Kaitlyn Papp and Manon De Roey, who sits third on the LET’s Race to Costa del Sol. Swedes Maja Stark and Scandinavian Mixed winner Linn Grant are among those tied for 13th. Defending champion Pajaree Anannarukarn is in a tie for 30th after carding a 1-under 70. On the men’s side, Scotland’s Ewan Ferguson opened with a 9-under 61 that included two eagles to take a commanding four-stroke lead heading into Friday.

KAITLYN PAPP LOOKING TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SOLID SCORE IN FIRST DAY OF NORTHERN IRELAND

It’s Kaitlyn Papp’s first time in this part of Europe. Papp said she was expecting the typical Northern Irish summer cold and rainy weather, but instead was surprised by the “heat wave” that’s enveloped both the Galgorm and Massereene courses at the at ISPS Handa World Invitational presented by AVIV Clinics. “I was packed for all possibilities,” joked the 24-year-old. A welcome surprise it was, as the 2022 LPGA Tour rookie took advantage of sunny conditions and recorded a 4-under 69 at Galgorm to sit in a tie for sixth with seven other players.

Papp has been working on “cleaning up a few things,” most importantly her swing and putting, in preparation for the final leg of the Tour’s European swing. The University of Texas alum had a rocky start to her first nine holes, flip flopping between birdies (four) and bogeys (four) along with a singular par on No. 12. She jumpstarted her round after the turn, carding birdies in four of her next five holes, and finished off the day bogey-birdie on Nos. 8 and 9 to put a cap on a rollercoaster of a round.

“I think my putting was really strong today. My first nine, on the back nine I didn’t really hit it great off the tee, but just tried to stay really patient and just remember that it’s just the start of the tournament, we’re not finishing today,” said Papp, who only hit five of 14 fairways and 12 of 18 greens in regulation. “So I think that kept me in it. I knew I had some good swings in me and my putter just kept me alive and allowed me to score.”

Papp, who is making her 11th start this season and 15th LPGA Tour appearance of her career, was waiting for a round like this to come together. Papp has only recorded now seven rounds in the 60s in 2022 to kick off her rookie career including Thursday’s 18 holes, with her season-best score a 67, recorded twice at the JTBC Classic. Her season-best result came back in June, a tie for 42nd at the ShopRite LPGA Classic, and has yet to make a cut since the Meijer LPGA Classic. She hopes the work she’s done, especially on her mental game, can continue through the week after a breakthrough first day in Northern Ireland.

“Rookie year has been good. Definitely a learning curve, and just trying to learn a lot about the tour itself and then me personally,” said Papp. “I feel like I’ve done a lot of work on my mental game and just try to take what do I in the practice rounds into the tournament round and just stay calm and more patient with myself.

BEES NO MATCH FOR CARMEN ALONSO AT ISPS HANDA WORLD INVITATIONAL

Carmen Alonso is used to combatting different elements week to week; she’s a professional golfer, and it comes with the territory. But waking up Thursday morning for the first round of the ISPS Handa World Invitational, she didn’t realize how much she’d have to contest one particular situation: bee stings. On Wednesday at the driving range while making videos for social media during practice, Alonso felt a quick pinch in her leg. She said she had remembered being allergic to the insect when she was younger, but didn’t think anything of it, until she the bite swelled up in the morning and turned out to be an annoying hinderance. But for Alonso, it’s all about fighting through it. “It’s what it is when you are working in the golf course,” she said.

It made the 3-under 70 on Galgorm even sweeter in Northern Ireland. “I played really good. I started obvious with birdie, birdie, birdie. It’s a good start. Happy for the confidence in the beginning. And then I think this golf course we’re not used to playing in greens that there are so firm, so it’s a little bit difficult, and if you’re not on the fairway, it’s also difficult because the rough is quite thick for us,” said Alonso, who made seven birdies and four bogeys on the day. “But obviously I have to say that I’m happy with my round sure keep going and we’ll see.”

Alonso, who first joined the Ladies European Tour in 2004, has taken part in most of the LPGA and LET co-sanctioned events since 2018. She missed the cut in this event last year, despite having a standout season, making the weekend 15 times in 21 events with two top-10 finishes. So far this year, Alonso has recorded two top-five finishes – a T3 at the Australian Women’s Open and T5 at the Jabra Ladies Open – and hopes to turn up the fire on Friday at Massareene.

“I think if you want to be a good player you have to play in all the courses really good. Obviously this golf course that is a target golf course is easier, but still difficult because the greens are really firm,” said Alonso, who is coming off a T41 result at the Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open and a missed cut at the AIG Women’s Open. “So it’s another way. Every week is another way to play in the golf course, so keep going.”

LAUREN COUGHLIN CONTINUES TO GRIND

If golf was a straight-line progression where everything graphed steadily upward, why would we watch? Struggle is part of the appeal, perhaps the biggest part. That’s why it’s so rewarding to see a player like Lauren Coughlin play well enough to be tied for the early first-round lead in the ISPS Handa World Invitational presented by AVIV Clinics. Without the downs, like missing three consecutive cuts coming into this week, rounds like the 5-under par 67 the 29-year-old shot at Massereene Golf Club in Northern Ireland on Thursday wouldn’t mean as much.

Coughlin summed up that attitude after her round when she said, “Past results don’t necessarily mean (whatever is happening in your game is) going to continue. I try to live that as best as possible.”

She was speaking of the last month or so of her LPGA Tour season, which has been, in her words “a rough couple of weeks the last few weeks between (the Amundi) Evian (Championship) and (the Women’s) Scottish (Open) and then the (AIG Women’s) British.” But she could have been ruminating on the ups and downs of her career – of anyone’s career, especially in a game where the knife’s edge between victory and losing your job remains ever sharp and perilous.

Coughlin is what tour veterans call a grinder. She was a successful amateur at the University of Virginia who won the ACC Championship in her senior year as she was getting a degree in psychology. After that she finished 36th at the first LPGA Tour Q Series, earning her LPGA Tour card for 2018. From there, it’s been up and down.

That’s what makes the Epson Tour such a godsend for so many in the women’s game. Coughlin won an Epson Tour event, the PHC Classic, as a non-member is 2018. But as happens many times with players, she found herself back on the road to the LPGA in 2019. That year, Coughlin played 20 tournament and had four top-10s. Her best Epson Tour finish was a runner-up at the SKYiGolf Championship.

During that stretch, she realized the weaknesses in her game. The Epson Tour allowed her to see those coming up and those falling back, those succeeding at the next level, and those who still had some work ahead.  

To read more of Lauren Coughlin at the ISPS Handa World Invitational, click here: https://www.lpga.com/news/2022/lauren-coughlin-continues-to-grind

PLAYER NOTES

Rolex Rankings No. 211 Amanda Doherty

  • Her first-round 67 ties a career-low 18-hole score on the LPGA Tour, last recorded in the final round of the 2022 Amundi Evian Championship
  • Doherty is a 2022 LPGA Tour rookie
  • This is her 13th event of the 2022 season; she’s made seven cuts and recorded a season-best T14 finish at the DIO Implant LA Open
  • This is Doherty’s first appearance in the ISPS Handa World Invitational
  • She is a 2021 Epson Tour graduate; she’s carded nine top-10 finishes in her Epson Tour career, with eight earned last year
  • Doherty played collegiate golf at Florida State University, she was a two-time All-American Honorable Mention

Rolex Rankings No. 103, Emily Pedersen

  • Her first-round 67 ties her season-best 18-hole score on the LPGA Tour, last carded in the first round of the DIO Implant LA Open
  • Pedersen was an LPGA Tour rookie in 2017; she’s carded one top-10 finish on Tour, a tie for second at the 2020 Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open where she lost in a playoff
  • This is her 14th event of the 2022 LPGA Tour season; she’s made eight cuts, with a season-best tie for 18th at the LOTTE Championship
  • This is her first appearance in the ISPS Handa World Invitational
  • Pedersen represented Denmark in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, finishing in a tie for fifth
  • She is two-time European Solheim Cup Team member (2017, 2021)
  • Pedersen is a five-time winner on the Ladies European Tour; in 2020, she won four times and won the Race to Costa del Sol (Order of Merit)

Rolex Rankings No. 186, Lauren Coughlin

  • Her first-round 67 is her second-lowest 18-hole score on the LPGA Tour; her career-low is a 65, last recorded at the 2022 ShopRite LPGA Classic
  • This is Coughlin’s fifth season on the LPGA Tour; her career-best finish is a tie for 12th at the 2022 ShopRite LPGA Classic
  • This is her 15th event of the 2022 LPGA Tour season; she has made five cuts, and has carded three top-20 finishes
  • This is Coughlin’s second appearance in the ISPS Handa World Invitational; she finished T17 in its inaugural year
  • She has also played on the Epson Tour since 2016, recording 12 top-10 finishes including a victory at the 2018 PHC Classic as a non-Member
  • Coughlin played collegiate golf at the University of Virginia, where she was a two-time ACC Player of Year, two-time ACC Player of the Year and two-time ACC Individual champion

Rolex Rankings No. 29, Georgia Hall

  • Her first-round 68 ties her second-best opening 18-hole score in 2022; her best was a R1 66 at the Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open
  • This is Hall’s five season on Tour; she’s a two-time LPGA Tour winner and became a major champion at the 2018 AIG Women’s Open in her rookie year
  • This is her 14th event of the 2022 LPGA Tour season; her season-best finish is a tie for eighth at the Amundi Evian Championship, and has also earned five additional top-20 finishes
  • This is Hall’s second appearance in the ISPS Handa World Invitational; she finished in a tie for 14th in 2021
  • Hall won the Aramco Saudi Ladies International for her second win on the LET, following her 2018 AIG Women’s Open victory
  • She is a three-time European Solheim Cup Team member (2017, 2019, 2021)
  • In 2017, Hall won the LET Order of Merit

Rolex Rankings No. 17, Leona Maguire

  • This is Maguire’s fourth season on Tour; she became a Rolex First-Time Winner in 2022
  • This is her 18th event of the 2022 season; along with her win at the LPGA Drive On Championship, she has earned two top-four finishes (T2, Meijer LPGA Classic; T4, AIG Women’s Open)
  • This is Maguire’s first appearance in the tri-sanctioned ISPS Handa World Invitational
  • She was the first woman from Ireland to win on the LPGA Tour in its history and was the first Rolex First-Time Winner of 2022
  • Maguire was a member of the 2021 European Solheim Cup Team; she was the first Irishwoman to play in a Solheim Cup, and broke the all-time rookie points record in either the Solheim Cup or Ryder Cup with a total of 4.5 points
  • She is a two-time Olympian representing Ireland, finishing T21 (2016 Rio Olympics) and T23 (2020 Tokyo Olympics)
  • Maguire was a 2019 Epson Tour graduate; she finished seventh in the Race for the Card and earned two victories at the 2019 Windsor Golf Classic and Epson Classic
  • She owns the all-time record for weeks (135) at No. 1 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings
  • Maguire was a four-time First-Team All American, three-time ACC Player of the YEAR, and two-time ANNIKA Award winner while at Duke University

CHAMPIONSHIP FORMAT

132 men and 132 women; two separate 72-hole stroke play tournaments (one for men and one for women); cut to top 60 and ties after 36 holes, with a second cut to the top 35 and ties after 54 holes in each of the tournaments. For the first two rounds, all players will play one round on each course.

SOCIAL MEDIA: #DRIVEON

Tournament: @World_Inv_Golf, @modestgolf, @galgormresort, @GalgormCastle, @massereenegc and @ISPSHanda (Twitter); @world_inv_golf, @isps_handa, @modestgolfofficial (IG), #WorldInvitational

LPGA: @LPGA, @LPGAMedia (Twitter), @lpga_tour (Instagram)

TV TIMES (all times Eastern on Golf Channel)

Friday, Aug. 12 – 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 13 – 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Sunday, Aug. 14 – 6:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

STREAMING TIMES (all times Eastern on the NBC Sports App and golfchannel.com)

Friday, Aug. 12 – 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 13 – 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Sunday, Aug. 14 – 6:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

COURTESY LPGA COMMUNICATIONS

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