Date: March 29, 2019
Author: Mark Hayes

Big guns locked and loaded

It’s beginning to look a lot like majors season on the LPGA Tour as the world’s best, including Australia’s Minjee Lee, fine-tune at the Kia Classic near San Diego.

Lee, ranked No.3 in the world, sits at four under after the opening round at Carlsbad, three from the lead of Chella Choi.

But, with the ANA Inspiration looming next week at nearby Rancho Mirage, Lee has all the big guns around her as they prepare for the year’s first major.

World No.4 Jin Young Ko, fresh off a win last week in Phoenix, is right back in the mix and shares third with Lee – as do world No.1 Sung Hyun Park, world No.2 Ariya Jutanugarn and Olympic champion Inbee Park.

Lee, who began on the 10th hole today, made eight pars and a birdie heading out, but roared home with four birdies from the first to the seventh before closing with a bogey.

Choi was going well at four under through 15, but birdied her final three holes to surge two clear of Northern Ireland’s Stephanie Meadow at five under.

Katherine Kirk is the next best Aussie at even par, while Hannah Green remains in contention at one over. Su Oh (+4) and Sarah Jane Smith (+9), however, will need a good second round to be around for the weekend.