With temperatures in the 80s, it was a hot opener for fans on Thursday as the third annual Volvik Championship teed off at Travis Pointe Country Club in Ann Arbor. But it was scorching inside the ropes as four players went 6-under par to share the lead after an exciting and very well-played first round.
None of the four should feel all that comfortable. Seven players sit one shot back, six players are two shots back and 17 players are just three shots off the pace.
Moriya Jutanugarn, Caroline Masson, Amy Olson and Danielle Kang all fired 66s to take the first-day lead. Megan Khang, Jessica Korda, Jodi Ewart Shadoff, Minjee Lee, Nasa Hataoka, Lindy Duncan and Morgan Pressel are all at 5-under par.
Jutanugarn had a solid opener. She had a bogey-free round and birdied three of the four par-five holes. She said she felt good about her round.
“It’s just nothing much, like pretty much you just hit the shot, go find the ball, hit another shot,” she said. “If you don’t make the putt, just go hit another putt. Just trying to keep it simple. I mean, I had a lot of fun out there, yeah.
“I hit a lot of good shots today. Seems like I couldn’t pick the best one, it’s a lot of good shots out there.”
Masson rode the roller-coaster all afternoon – she had bogeys on 12 and 18 but birdied six holes and carded an eagle on the par-five 14.
She said her putting was a key to her good start.
“I played well last week, and my ball‑striking was really good and I was struggling a little bit with the putts,” she said. “I just changed a couple things with my coach, Gareth, earlier this week and it seemed to work. So it was just nice to see a couple go in and I played pretty solid overall.”
Her eagle on 14 was impressive, including a long putt.
“I hit a good drive down there and a good 3‑wood on the green, and then yeah, I made a pretty good putt from probably a little bit over 30 feet,” she said. “So like I said, that was kind of the first really nice putt that I made today. Sometimes it can really get you into a really good round, so it was fun to play like that.”
Olson was consistent for most of her round. She had four birdies on the front nine including back-to-back at eight and nine. Her solid back round – three birdies – was interrupted with her only bogey on 17.
Kang was steady from start to finish. She carded six birdies and 12 pars on her way to a 66.