The 41st playing of the 54-hole Mizuno Classic opened with a bang for American Brittany Lincicome. She got off to a hot start with an eagle on the par-5 first hole, sinking a 15-foot eagle putt after carrying the green on her second shot and briefly taking the 1st round lead. The Rolex Ranked 38, 5-time LPGA winner followed immediately with a bogey on the 2nd hole, but nevertheless, what an opening hole!
I don’t usually look at the leaderboard but I caught a glimpse of it when I was walking to the [first] tee and it said the leader was at 2-under. I was like, all I’ve got to do is eagle No. 1. So I got to the first tee and I actually had a great drive. My second shot was going right at the pin but I was trying to hit it right of the bunker. It carried the bunker and goes on the green. Then I get up there and it was a straight, downhill, super severe putt. So I was thinking just lag it up there, hit it close, birdie is still a great score. Then I ended up making the putt for eagle.
Brittany Lincicome, Opened With An Eagle
At the end of the day, with everybody in the clubhouse, there was quite an international crowd at the top of the leaderboard. Japan’s Shiho Oyama recorded 6 birdies and a pair of bogeys, carded 68, and established a slim, 1 shot lead going in to the 2nd round. With classic modesty, the 13-year member of the JLPGA explained that she’s “not actually aiming for the win though, I’m just looking forward in playing with the U.S. LPGA players.”
Floridian Brittany Lincicome, Sweden’s Pernilla Lindberg and South Koreans Jiyai Shin, Chella Choi and Hee-Wan Han sit in a tie for second along with four JLPGA members at 3-under 69, trailing Oyama by a single shot.
Defending champion Stacy Lewis, who rallied from a 7-shot deficit to win the 2012 Mizuno in the final round, carded 71, as did Japan’s Mika Miyazato. They’re part of a large mob of players going in to the 2nd round at -1 for the tournament, 3 shots off the lead. Aussie Karrie Webb, 2006 Mizuno champion, is at even par and LPGA rookie Ayako Uehara is at +1 going in to the 2nd round.
With a $1.2 millions purse, the Mizuno Classic is going to provide some nice paychecks to the top finishers. There’s no cut and with 2 more rounds to play and a compacted leaderboard, I’m anticipating some 2nd round action. Conditions will be a bit windy through the weekend but the players report that the putts are rolling nicely at the Kintetsu Kashikojima Country Club.