THE COLONY, Texas – Although her nearly two-year run at No. 1 in the global women’s golf rankings was over, Jin Young Ko was again the best in the Volunteers of America Classic on Thursday.
Ko shoots an eight-year-old under 63 in hot conditions at Old American to take a lead over fellow South Korean grand champions and residents in Gee Chun and Jeongeun Lee6.
The 25-year-old Ko lost the number 1 rankings when Nelly Korda won the KPMG women’s PGA Championship on Sunday for her second victory in a row.
“It’s good,” Ko said as he approached no. 2 dropped. “And I’m still alive. So it does not matter. ‘
Ko started her morning round with seven pars, made a 15-foot eagle shot at par-5 17 and played the last nine in 6-under-29 when the temperature climbed in the mid-90s.
“Shot was not good, but to put was really good,” says Ko, who has a home in nearby Frisco. “And then I read the break very well today, so I had confidence on the green. I made a lot of holes today.”
Chun and Lee6 each had seven birdies in a meager 64 that afternoon.
“Feel comfortable staying in the house,” Chun said. “It’s the first time I’ve been at home during the tournament week and playing like a tournament. So it feels a little different, but it’s really good. I’m so happy to be with my fans and my friends and my neighbors to play here. “
Lee6 recently moved to Irving. She won the US Women’s Open in 2019 for her stand-alone LPGA tournament.
“These days, my feeling is not the best, but I try my best every day,” Lee6 said. “I played well today.”
Emma Talley and Min-G Kim were back at 65 with two strokes, and Lake Merced winner Matilda Castren at 66 with Perrine Delacour, Esther Henseleit, Sarah Jane Smith, Gerina Piller and Jasmine Suwannapura.
“I’m an Alabama graduate, live in Nashville and come from Kentucky,” Talley said. “So this heat is awful, but I’m used to it.”
Stacy Lewis, the Texan who won the 2014 event, opened with a 68.
Defending champion Angela Stanford, the local favorite who played the first two rounds with Ko, shot 69. The tournament was played in early December last year when the schedule was rescheduled due to the pandemic.
Lizette Salas, who finished second in the PGA for women, finished the final two holes for a 70.
“I’m a little tired and maybe a little mentally drained, but I still know I can play good golf,” Salas said.
Maria Fassi starts with a 73. The Mexican player misses the cut with a shot in the PGA for women after receiving a penalty kick with two shots for slow play.