Thu, Sep 1, 2022
Dana Open presented by Marathon
Highland Meadows Golf Club| Sylvania, Ohio| Sept. 1-4, 2022
Sept. 1, 2022
Course Setup: 34-37—71, 6,685
Scoring Averages: R1 – 70.960
Weather: Sunny skies with temperatures peaking to mid-8-s this afternoon; winds light and variable throughout the day
THREE TIED AT THE TOP OF DANA OPEN PRESENTED BY MARATHON LEADERBOARD
After 18 holes in Sylvania, Ohio, Hye-Jin Choi, Ruoning Yin and Carlota Ciganda carded 6-under 65s to take the first-round lead at the Dana Open presented by Marathon. Ciganda, a two-time LPGA Tour champion whose wins came in 2014, opened with two birdies in her first three holes and added four more after the turn on Nos. 10, 11, 13 and 18. It’s Ciganda’s best first-round score of 2022, as she makes her fifth appearance at the Dana Open.
“I really like this place and I started very solid. I hit a lot of greens, great shots on 1, 2, 3, and I made like 15-footer on 2 and a 10-footer on 3 for birdie. Then I just told myself to keep giving chances, hit greens. I think it’s key on this golf course,” said Ciganda, who has already earned three top-five finishes this season. “I feel very comfortable out there. I like the place. Reminds me of home in the summer, the weather, the trees, the design of the course. I really enjoy playing here and it’s been a great day.”
This is the fourth time in Ciganda’s career that she’s slept on the 18-hole lead/co-lead, and the first time since the 2018 Amundi Evian Championship. Her two 2022 Tour rookie co-leaders, Yin and Choi, both hold the first-round lead/co-lead for the first time in their careers in individual events (Choi held the 2022 Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational lead with playing partner Narin An). This is Yin’s first start since the team event in Midland, as she has been battling a wrist injury and didn’t travel for the European swing. After making two Epson Tour appearances, where she finished T30 (Firekeepers Casino Hotel Championship) and T13 (French Lick Charity Classic), Yin took the time while rehabbing to improve her putting and her short game, practice she put to use at Highland Meadows Golf Club.
“I think this course fits me pretty well because my normal ball flight is kind of fade, and, yeah, I think it’s fits me,” said Yin. “Today I read the greens pretty good. I think for my putt I just don’t have much expectations, and just tried to hit a good putt.”
Choi is coming off a hot week at the CP Women’s Open, where she recorded a career-best 62 in the second round and notched her ninth top-10 finish of 2022. She carried that momentum into Thursday, making three birdies on the first four holes, and remaining bogey-free while adding three more under-par scores at No. 8, 10 and 13.
“Even though I didn’t win (at the CP Women’s Open), I feel like I’m gaining more experience and developing more skills,” said Choi. “Hopefully, I can use the experience I gained last week this week.”
Eight players sit in a tie for fourth at -5. Among them are major champions like Lydia Ko, a two-time Dana Open champion, and Lexi Thompson, who has earned two runner-up performances in Sylvania since 2017. Sponsor exemption Aline Krauter is also in that group in contention, as she makes just her sixth start in an LPGA Tour event and first as a professional, along with 2021 European Solheim Cup competitors Leona Maguire and Emily Kristine Pedersen.
“I’m just super grateful to have this opportunity in the first place,” said Krauter. “I’m just going to take it day by day and see how it goes.”
Krauter led amongst the sponsor invites, as Natasha Andrea Oon sits in a tie for 37th at -1 and amateur Audrey Ryu at T142 and +9. Defending champion Nasa Hataoka is tied for 29th after a 2-under 69.
LEONA MAGUIRE LOVING BEING BACK IN TOLEDO, SITE OF SOLHEIM CUP BREAKOUT
Ireland’s Leona Maguire returns to Toledo, Ohio where she broke out at last year’s Solheim Cup, going 5-0-0 to solidify her place as one of golf’s newest superstars. Since then, she has captured her first LPGA Tour victory, winning earlier this season at the LPGA Drive On Championship, and though there are three rounds left to play, Maguire is in good shape thus far as she eyes a second title. The 27-year-old shot a bogey-free, 5-under 66, hitting nine of 14 fairways and 10 of 18 greens and needing only 23 putts to make her way around Highland Meadows Golf Club on Thursday.
“It’s always nice to come back to somewhere that you know you have good memories. I’ve signed a few Solheim pin flags and balls this week, which is nice,” said Maguire. “Played really solid. Gave myself lots of chances and had a nice birdie on 13 to sort of get it going and then 18 to make the turn. Kind of built on that momentum then and had a couple in a row, on 3, 4, and putted nicely. Gave myself lots of chances. Any time you go bogey-free, it’s a bit nicer of a day.”
This is Maguire’s third appearance in the Dana Open presented by Marathon. In 2017 when she was the No. 1 ranked female player in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, Maguire teed it up in Toledo on a sponsors invite, carding a pair of even-par 71s to miss the cut by one, and last year, she shot three rounds in the 60s to finish in a tie for 15th after the event was shortened to 54 holes due to inclement weather. It’s the first time we’ve seen Maguire competing in the United States since the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational in July and the Irishwoman seems refreshed after a few much-needed weeks at home. She played well during the European swing, finishing in a tie for fourth at the AIG Women’s Open and solo tenth at the ISPS Handa World Invitational, and that trend is continuing in Ohio, even with new equipment in the bag.
“I actually have a new set of irons in the bag this week, so, so far so good. It’s not like me to change. I’ve been home for a couple of weeks, did some testing while I was home. The new Ping 230s are in the bag,” Maguire said. “It was probably the most time I’ve spent at home in quite a while. My whole family was home. Mom and Dad and Lisa got to go to the British and my brother came to the event in Northern Ireland, so it was one of the first times in a long time that the whole family was able to come watch me and then actually spend some time at home.”
TWO-TIME CHAMPION LYDIA KO AGAIN AT THE TOP AT THE DANA OPEN PRESENTED BY MARATHON
There’s just something about Highland Meadows Golf Club for Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings No. 4 Lydia Ko. This is the seventh time the 25-year-old has teed it up in Sylvania, Ohio at the Dana Open presented by Marathon and in her six previous starts, she has two wins and three additional top-10s, never finishing worse than a tie for 20th. She’s off to a good start so far in the 2022 edition of the tournament, firing a 5-under 66 with seven birdies and one bogey on the card, and Ko is carrying plenty of good energy with her from her past successes at this venue.
“The course has changed a little bit with the layout, some of the holes becoming a lot longer than my rookie year and some extra bunkering. But it’s always nice to come back to a place that you’ve played well at. I’ve had good finishes outside of winning, so it’s nice to look back on those memories,” said Ko who hit 10 of 14 fairways and 14 of 18 greens. “(Today) was a solid day. In my back nine, which is the front nine, I couldn’t really get anything going, but I made a really good birdie putt on 6 to get back to even for that nine. And then always nice to finish up with a birdie on the last.”
The Kiwi has been playing some stellar golf in 2022, especially over the last month. After finishing in a tie for 46th at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, Ko finished T3 at the Amundi Evian Championship, T5 in the Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open, T7 at the AIG Women’s Open and solo 4th at last week’s CP Women’s Open, an impressive stretch of golf that’s seen her come close to an 18th career victory on Tour. But one of the things that Ko has figured out during her tenure on the LPGA Tour is how to stay patient and that’s exactly what she plans to continue doing with 54 holes of golf left to play.
“It was like pretty steady all day, so I tried to keep patient and give myself good opportunities and go from there,” Ko said. “Just trying to play the best golf I can with how I’m playing right now. There is so much golf to be played, and just trying to focus on me and go from there.”
EMILY KRISTINE PEDERSEN IN PRIME POSITION AFTER DAY ONE AT DANA OPEN
The last time Denmark native Emily Kristine Pedersen was in the greater Toledo area, she and the rest of the European team were celebrating their second consecutive Solheim Cup win, victorious on U.S. soil for the first time since 2013 at Colorado Golf Club. Through round one at the Dana Open presented by Marathon, Pedersen is keeping the good memories rolling, firing a 5-under 66 to open her week at Highland Meadows Golf Club.
“Everyone was absolutely amazing at the Solheim, and people are still congratulating us on the European win is great. We obviously have a lot of good memories from here, and I hope we can just keep making good memories this week,” said Pedersen, who made six birdies and one bogey on Thursday. “Five under is always a good round. I played some solid golf out there today and dropped a few good putts, but also left some out there. Hoping to keep it going.”
Pedersen’s 66 marks her lowest opening round on the LPGA Tour since the 2021 Amundi Evian Championship and it’s also her lowest score of the 2022 season. The 26-year-old is consistently one of the Tour’s longest hitters – she ranked fourth in average driving distance ahead of this week – and said that it’s hard to keep the big dog in the bag around this golf course. But that self-restraint seems to be paying off, and if Pedersen keeps hitting nine of 14 fairways and shooting in the 60s, she surely won’t miss her driver too much.
“I think you mentally have to – or I at least have to – mentally know I can’t just bomb the driver everywhere. I have to lay it up places,” said Pedersen who averaged 282.50 yards off the tee on day one. “I like my driver. I always want to hit it. It’s too high of a risk on many holes here. So just I think mentally prepare that that’s what we’re doing, and even though it seems weird to hit a 4-iron or hybrid off the tee, that’s the smart play.”
Rolex Rankings No. 18, Hye-Jin Choi (65)
- Choi hit 13 of 14 fairways and 13 of 18 greens with 25 putts
- Her 65 is her three off her career-best 18 holes; her best is a 62, recorded last week in the second round of the CP Women’s Open
- This is Choi first appearance at the Dana Open presented by Marathon
- This is her 19th event of the 2022 season; she’s earned nine top-10 finishes including a season-best runner-up performance at the CP Women’s Open
- Choi is a 2022 LPGA Tour rookie; she is second in the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year standings with 1,015 points
- She is an 11-time winner on the KLPGA Tour, including the 2019 CreaS F&C KLPGA Championship, one of the tour’s major championships
- Choi was the 2018 KLPGA Rookie of the Year, and 2018, 2019 and 2020 KLPGA Player of the Year
Rolex Rankings No. 421, Ruoning Yin (65)
- Yin hit 12 of 14 fairways and 13 of 18 greens, with 25 putts
- Her 65 is a new career-low on the LPGA Tour; her previous best was a 68 recorded in the second round of the Palos Verdes Championship presented by Bank of America
- This is Yin’s first appearance in the Dana Open presented by Marathon
- This is her 10th event of the 2022 season; she’s made two cuts, with a season-best result of T26 at the Palos Verdes Championship
- Yin is a 2022 LPGA Tour rookie; her career-best result is the T26 from the Palos Verdes Championship
- She finished T4 at the 2021 LPGA Q-Series to first earn Tour status for this season
- Yin turned professional in 2020, primarily playing on the CLPGA and is a three-time winner on that Tour
- She won nine titles in 2019 as a junior amateur and was ranked as high as 64th in the World Amateur Golf Rankings
Rolex Rankings No. 40, Carlota Ciganda (65)
- Ciganda hit nine of 14 fairways and 14 of 18 greens, with 27 putts
- Her first-round 65 ties her second-best first-round score of her LPGA Tour career; she last recorded a 65 on day one at the 2019 Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic, with her best a 63 at the 2019 Walmart NW Arkansas Championship
- This is Ciganda’s fifth appearance at the Dana Open presented by Marathon; she earned one top-10 finish at Highland Meadows, a tie for ninth in 2020
- This is her 18th event of the 2022 season; she’s made 11 cuts and has notched three top-five finishes, most recently at the Amundi Evian Championship (T3)
- This is Ciganda’s 11th Season on the LPGA Tour; she’s a two-time Tour winner, with her last win at the 2016 CitiBanamex Lorena Ochoa Invitational presented by Aeromexico and Delta
- She is a six-time Ladies European Tour winner, with her most recent this year at the Estrella Damm Mediterranean Ladies Open in July
- Ciganda is a five-time European Solheim Cup Team member (2013, 2015, 2017, 2019, 2021) and a member of Team Spain at the International Crown in 2014
- She is a two-time Olympian representing Spain; She finished T39 at the 2016 Rio Olympics and T29 at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics
SOCIAL MEDIA: #DRIVEON
Tournament: @danaopenlpga (Twitter, Instagram), #DanaLPGAOpen
LPGA: @LPGA, @LPGAMedia (Twitter); @lpga_tour (Instagram)
TV & STREAMING TIMES (all times Eastern on Golf Channel, golfchannel.com and the NBC Sports App)
Friday, Sept. 2 – 1-4 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 3 – 1-4 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 4 – 1-4 p.m.
TOURNAMENT SCORING RECORDS
18 holes: 60, Paula Creamer, first round, 2008
36 holes: 125, Paula Creamer, 2008
54 holes: 194, Nasa Hataoka, 2021
72 holes: 261 (-23), Se Ri Pak, 1998
COURTESY LPGA TOUR COMMUNICATIONS