Tour rookie Caroline Masson of Germany shot a bogey-free 7-under 64 on Thursday to take a two-stroke lead over Carlota Ciganda after the first round of the inaugural North Texas LPGA Shootout.
While Masson has made only one of five cuts in her first LPGA season, the 23-year-old played on the Ladies European Tour the past three years and won the 2012 South African Women’s Open.
”I always felt like I wasn’t too far away really. It was just like one bad round … just couldn’t really make any putts or whatever,” said Masson, who has made only one of five cuts so far this year. ”I felt like, `OK, there’s a good round in me. I just got to be patient.’ And that’s what I did.”
She closed with a curling putt from about 18 feet on the ninth hole, her longest birdie putt of the day.
Ciganda was the top money winner on the European tour last year.
Inbee Park, the No. 1 women’s player in the world, was in a group at 67.Taylor Coleman, a 16-year-old Texan high school student, shot 68.
Ciganda, the Spaniard who last year was the top rookie and top money winner on the European tour, had birdies on three par 3s. That was part of her best round this season, even while hitting only four of 13 fairways.
”The main defense was my putting today,” said Ciganda, who needed only 26 putts. ”That’s really good for me. So I think that was the key today because I’ve been hitting good shots, good driver. So I’m just going to try to keep playing good and let’s see if I can make putts.”
Park, who regained the No. 1 ranking after winning the Kraft Nabisco, had five birdies through her first 13 holes. She was 3 under after getting a break at No. 8, a 403-yard hole.
”It was almost going in the hazard and it stopped a foot short of the hazard, and I made birdie from there,” Park said. ”That was a turning point.”
The 24-year-old South Korean had two more birdies after that before her only bogey, at the 416-yard 14th after missing the green. She parred out after that.
Stacy Lewis, the Texas native who has a chance to regain the No. 1 ranking with a top-five finish this weekend, shot a 1-over 72. She had five bogeys, two coming on her last three holes.