LPGA Tour News: First-Round Notes – 2023 Kroger Queen City Championship; Ruixin Liu leads for first time in 5-year career

By Carey Van Lue

Kroger Queen City Championship presented by P&G

Kenwood Country Club | Cincinnati, Ohio | September 7-10, 2023

First-Round Notes

September 7, 2023

Ruixin Liu 2020 Firekeepers Casino Hotel title. July 26 at Battle Creek, MI. (Courtesy IMAGN, Photo by Alyssa Keown of Battle Creek Enquirer, USA Today Sports Syndication)

Course Setup: 36-36 –72; 6,548 yards

Scoring Average: R1: 71.606

Weather: Morning overcast became a mix of sun and clouds in the afternoon with temperatures climbing into the low 90s; South-southwesterly winds peaked at 8-13 mph with 15 mph gusts

Race to CME Globe Points: 500 (winner)

Purse: $2 million (winner’s portion is $300,000)

TV/Streaming Times: How to Watch


Player To par Score


Ruixin Liu




Peiyun Chien




Elizabeth Szokol




Dottie Ardina




Linnea Strom




Six players





Shooting an impressive 7-under, bogey-free round on Thursday in Cincinnati, Ruixin Liu took the first-round lead at the Kroger Queen City Championship, the first post-round lead she has ever held in her five seasons on the LPGA Tour. The People’s Republic of China golfer tied her career-low round on Tour with her Thursday 65, which was highlighted by seven birdies in her first 13 holes. It is her low-round of the 2023 season and just her fifth individual round in the 60’s this year. And, it got off to an unideal start, according to Liu.


Well, so I didn’t get off to a good start on the first hole, but I made the putt,” said Liu, whose second shot on the par-4 first hole went into the greenside bunker. After freeing her ball from the sand, Liu made a long par putt to earn her first of two sand saves on Thursday. She followed her par save with two straight birdies on 2 and 3, added two more on 6 and 7 and made the turn in 31 with an additional birdie on 9. On the back nine, she made birdie on 11 and 13 before ending the round with five pars in a row.


“On the second hole was a reachable par-5 so I hit my 3-wood on the green (in two) and it was like 18 yards, two-putt. And then I made I think 15 feet on the third hole, and from that point on the putter is just rolling great,” said Liu, though she believes she left one birdie out there. “I pretty much made everything except for hole No. 12. That’s the only bad hole I played today, because my second shot was only like 18 feet to the hole for eagle and I three-putt that one.”


This season, Liu has made the cut in half of her 14 starts with a best finish of T9 at the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational alongside playing partner Yan Liu. She has withdrawn from two events after the first round this season, including last week’s Portland Classic.


“To be honest with you I withdraw last week because I was having severe allergy like I always do,” she said. “I’m still a little not clear today. I don’t know how I did this good, but it happen and I’m very happy to take it.”


Four players sit one stroke behind Liu at T2. Filipina golfer Dottie Ardina made seven birdies in her first ten holes to tie Liu’s lead with eight left to play, but a bogey on 12 and a string of six pars put her in the clubhouse with a 6-under 66. Ardina, whose best finishes this season are a pair of back-to-back T26 results, has missed the cut in her past three starts on Tour and was relieved to put together a good first round, especially given her pre-tournament practice schedule.


“To be honest, I only played the back nine for the practice round. I didn’t play the front nine, so I was just kind of winging it out there this afternoon. I was just trying to hit fairways and greens. Obviously the greens are kind of fast this week compared to last week, so I was definitely making putts the first ten holes, which is really nice,” Ardina said. “I think it’s also I had a good numbers on my approach shots. It wasn’t in between clubs at first, so I was just like hitting my numbers and leaving it, you know, where the easiest putt and making the putt.”


Swede Linnea Strom and Chinese Taipei golfer Peiyun Chien shot similar rounds to Ardina, with seven birdies and one bogey on the card putting them in a tie for second on the leaderboard, and in birdies or better along with Liu and Emily Kristine Pedersen (six birdies, one eagle). Also tied for second at -6 is 2023 LPGA Tour winner Elizabeth Szokol, who was one of nine players to put together a bogey-free round on Thursday.


Defending champion Ally Ewing finished at T20 after shooting a 3-under 69 during the first round. It is the same score Ewing shot in the first round of last year’s event, which was the inaugural playing.




Ruixin Liu

2023 Race to CME Globe Points List


2023 LPGA Tour Wins


2023 LPGA Tour Top 10s


2023 Season Earnings


Career LPGA Tour Wins


Career LPGA Tour Top 10s


Career Epson Tour Wins


Career Money




Rolex Rankings No. 250 Ruixin Liu

  • Liu made seven birdies in her bogey-free round of 65
    • She hit 10 of 14 fairways and 14 or 18 greens during the first round
    • She needed 27 putts to get through 18 holes
    • She is one of nine players to go bogey free on Thursday
    • Her average driving distance of 298 yards during the first round is good for third longest in the field
    • Her seven birdies are tied for the most in field
  • Liu’s 65 ties her low career round on the LPGA Tour
    • She also shot a 65 during the second round at the 2020 Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G
    • Her 65 is her lowest first-round score, besting her previous low of 66 which she has shot on two occasions
  • This is the first time Liu has held a post-round lead on the LPGA Tour
  • This is her second start at the Kroger Queen City Championship
    • In 2022, she finished T36
  • This is Liu’s 14th start of the 2023 LPGA Tour season
    • Her best finish this season is a T9 result at the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational alongside her playing partner Yu Liu
    • Liu has made the cut in seven of her 14 starts
    • She has withdrawn from two events this season due to injury, including at last week’s Portland Classic
  • This is her fifth season on the LPGA Tour
    • She has two career top-10s on the LPGA Tour, both at the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational (T9 in 2023 and T10 in 2022)
    • In an individual stroke-play event, Liu’s highest finish is T11 at the 2019 Dana Open
    • Liu is a six-time winner on the Epson Tour
    • She finished first on the Epson Tour Race for the Card in 2018 to earn membership for the 2019 LPGA Tour season



  • Four players are T2 after the first round
    • Peiyun Chien shot a 6-under 66 on Thursday
      • Chien was bogey-free until the 17th hole
      • She made seven bridies during the first round, tied for most in the field
      • Her 66 is her lowest round this season, besting her previous low of 67 which she has shot three times this year
    • 2023 Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational champion Elizabeth Szokol shot a bogey-free 66 in the first round
      • Her six-under ties for her second-lowest round of the 2023 LPGA Tour season
        • She also shot a 66 during the second-round of last week’s Portland Classic
      • In her previous 14 starts this season, she has made the cut nine times
    • Filipino golfer Dottie Ardina made seven birdies in her first 10 holes on Thursday, finishing -6 on the day
      • She made her first bogey on No. 12 before shooting even par on her last six holes
      • Ardina has missed three cuts in a row coming into this event
      • Last year in Cincinnati, she finished T42 at the Kroger Queen City Championship
      • This season her best finishes are T26 results at the Dana Open and Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational
      • Her best career result on the LPGA Tour is a T12 finish at the 2021 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship
    • Swede Linnea Strom shot a first-round 66, which ties her low first-round score on the LPGA Tour
      • Strom had seven birdies and one bogey on the card on Thursday
      • This is her first appearance in the Kroger Queen City Championship
      • This season, Strom has one T4 finish and two additional top-20 results
  • Six champions are T6 at 67 including:
    • 2023 Solheim Cup participants Charley Hull and Emily Kristine Pedersen
    • LPGA Tour Rookie Hae Ran Ryu, who is currently leading the Lousie Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year standings
    • 2022 U.S. Women’s Open champion Minjee Lee
    • Perrine Delacour, who lead after the first and second round of last week’s Portland Classic
    • Korean golfer Hye-Jin Choi
  • Defending champion Ally Ewing shot a three-under par, and is tied for 21st after the first round
    • This is her same first-round score as last year’s Kroger Queen City Championship
  • Rolex Rankings World No. 2 Ruoning Yin has a chance to move to No. 1 this week with a solo fourth place finish or better
    • Yin is T12 and -4 after the first round
    • Yin could move to No. 1 in the following scenarios:
      • Win
      • Seven-way tie for second or better
      • Three-way tie for third or better
      • Solo fourth
  • Sponsor invites Paula Creamer, Mia Hammond (a), and Gabriela Ruffels shot a combined total three-under par
    • 10-time LPGA Tour champion Creamer shot a first-round 72
    • 15-year-old Hammond finished her day at even-par, with three birdies and three bogeys
      • Fellow local player and West Chester, Ohio native Marissa Steen also came in with a 72
    • Ruffels had six birdies on Thursday, tying for sixth across the field
      • She recently clinched her LPGA Tour card for the 2024 season after claiming her third victory on the Epson Tour this year
  • Monday qualifiers Faith Kilgore and Wenbo Liu each shot rounds of 73 and 77
    • Kilgore hit 10 of 18 greens in regulation, along with 28 putts in her first round
      • A University of Texas graduate, Kilgore turned professional just three weeks ago, and this was her first time Monday qualifying
    • Three-time CLPGA Tour champion Liu had two birdies, with a total of 34 putts



Lydia Ko on the going into the final stretch of the LPGA Tour season:

“I haven’t been playing very well so I’ve had to add a few events, kind of like this one where I wasn’t meant to play but I came here and I was like, this is one the most fun golf courses I’ve played in a while. So I’m glad that I am here, and, yeah, you know, it’s just I want to finish off the season strong. There is still plenty of events. Like Chanettee, like she obviously didn’t come into Portland with that much good momentum but she played incredible and ended up winning. I think as much as like it’s difficult to do that, I think in golf that can happen. It’s one of the rare sports that can happen to you, so I’m just going to keep working at it and hopefully finish the season strong.”


Hae Ran Ryu on if she has been thinking of her chances at the Louise Suggs Rookie of the Year award:

“It is on my mind. If I win, it would be my second Rookie of the Year, but it’s a title I still want it very much. I’m looking forward to finishing the season strong.”


Linnea Strom on how Kenwood Country Club suits her game:

“I kind of feel like some of the tee shots the bunkers kind of frames the hole a little bit. I mean, it is pretty wide and normally I don’t like when the course gets too wide. I kind of want something specific to aim at. I feel like the fairway bunkers kind of helped me with that. I can see the shot that I want to hit. And I mean, it’s not playing very long so the front nine there is not too many drives. I’m hitting a lot of 3-woods off the tees. But, yeah, I think it’s a fun course to play. It was actually a little bit more firm today as well compared to how it played the last couple days.”


Perrine Delacour on carrying momentum from last week into this week:

“For sure it helps. We all know in golf we all started from scratch on Thursday, so it’s good for confidence, but today was a new week so we just started from scratch and trying my best with my caddie.”



First Round Highlights | 2023 Kroger Queen City Championship presented by P&G

Lydia Ko Cards First Round in 60s Since Amundi Evian Championship on Thursday in Cincinnati

Minjee Lee Liking Kenwood Country Club After Opening 67

2022 Champion Ally Ewing Tees Off

Joseph Demare of Bob Does Sports Caddies in Pro-Am

LPGA Now | 2023 Kroger Queen City Championship Preview

Walk and Talk with Linn Grant

Chella Choi Latest to Announce She’s a Soon-to-Be #LPGAMom



18 holes: 63, Jeongeun Lee6, second round, 2022

36 holes: 131, Jeongeun Lee6, 2022

54 holes: 200, Ally Ewing, 2022

72 holes: 266 (-22), Ally Ewing, 2022



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