2014 Kraft Nabisco Championship, Day 1
By Torleif Sorenson on 4/3/14
One week before the first men's professional major of the year, the women are taking center-stage this week in in Rancho Mirage, California. What is now the Kraft Nabisco Championship is in its 43rd year on the LPGA Tour and the 32nd as one of the major championships in women's professional golf. And although tournament organizers yanked Dinah Shore's name from the event in 2000, a significant number of writers and fans still refer to it as "The Dinah." As usual, it is being played on the Dinah Shore Tournament Course at Mission Hills Country Club.
After Round 1 of this year's "Dinah," the leader is Shanshan Feng of Guangzhou, China. Feng has three LPGA Tour victories — but one of them is the 2012 LPGA Championship. Taking advantage of an early tee-time on Thursday, she played well in the windless conditions. reeled off seven birdies and a fine bogey recovery at 15 to card an opening round 66.
Interestingly, Feng only made the cut in this event in her fifth try in 2011. In these past three years, she has finished T-55, T-22, and T-25. In her efforts to make a better showing this year, Feng drew on the wisdom of playing partner Amy Alcott, who has won this tournament three times:
But lurking just one shot back of Feng is Michelle Wie, who has won twice on the LPGA circuit but is still seeking her first major. She is still only 24 years old, but this is her 10th time playing the event. And aside from a bogey at the par-3 17th, Wie fired a solid 67. Of special note was her eagle at the par-5 11th, precipitated by a 300-yard tee-shot, a gorgeous approach, and a well-struck putt for a 3. Wie hit 15 of 18 GIR and 11 of 14 fairways.
But tied with Wie at -5 is five-time major champion and Hall of Famer Se Ri Pak, who also offset one bogey with six birds. Amy Yang of South Korea shot 68, as did 15-year-old high school amateur Angel Yin of Arcadia, California. Yin actually played this event last year, finished T-55.
Other notables who finished better than par on Thursday include Jennifer Rosales of the Philippines; Americans Cristie Kerr, Tiffany Joh, and Morgan Pressel; Jiyai Shin, So Yeon Ryu, Chella Choi, and Haeji Kang from South Korea.
Last year's triple-major-winner, Inbee Park, is struggling with her game. Her putting has been particularly troublesome; she took 32 putts on Thursday in shooting 74. She birdied only the 9th, suffered three bogeys, hit just 11 of 18 GIR and eight of 14 fairways.
Two pre-tournament favorites, 16-year-old Lydia Ko and Hall of Fame member Karrie Webb, both shot 73 and are tied for 29th.
The on-course wrap-up comes from Golf Channel:
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Image via Facebook, Kraft Nabisco Championship
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