Jennifer Rosales birdied five of the first seven holes on the back nine and finished with a 5-under 67 on Thursday in the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic for a share of the first-round lead with Katie Futcher, Lindsey Wright and Caroline Hedwall.
Rosales, the Filipino player who won the last of her two LPGA Tour titles in 2005, had a birdie and a bogey on the front nine before making her back-nine move on The Crossings course at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail’s Magnolia Grove complex. The event was her first of the year on the tour.
”I’m doing scuba diving in the offseason,” Rosales said. ”It’s fun, I really love it. It’s totally different from golf. That’s it, that’s what I’ve been doing back home.
The 33-year-old Rosales has limited tour status after finishing 124th on the money list last year.
”Actually, you know what? It’s better not to expect anything,” Rosales said. ”I just came out here and wanted to play and see this weekend. … Actually, today was an easy day for me. I hit most of the fairways and greens. I only missed I think a green today. My putting was very good today.”
Futcher had the lead at 6 under after 17 holes, but dropped into a tie with a bogey on the par-4 ninth.
She revealed that she recently switched from bacon to salami as her on-course snack.
”I’ve tried everything on the golf course,” Futcher said. ”I’ve tried sandwiches, I’ve tried nuts, I’ve tried every kind of bar you can think of. Bacon is good for me because it has a lot of protein and a lot of fat. I’ve switched now to salami. I go back and forth from salami to bacon. Right now I’m on a salami kick because … bacon, you can only eat so much of it for so long, so I kind of need to switch it up. Just something with some fat in it as well as some protein, and then I’ll eat just a straight carbohydrate bar.”
Wright and Hedwall had bogey-free rounds.
”It feels like it’s kind of target golf and I like that,” Hedwall said. ”I enjoy just hitting it; where it stops where you hit it, too. I like that and I think I did that well today. Just everything feels good, and hopefully I can play as well for the rest of the week.”
Wright won the New Zealand Women’s Open in February.
”I just played a nice round of golf,” the Australian said. ”I wish it was like that every day.”
Kraft Nabisco winner Sun Young Yoo was a stroke back along with Stacy Lewis, Morgan Pressel, Mariajo Uribe, Sydnee Michaels, Cindy LaCrosse, Haeji Kang and Mi Jung Hur.
”I hit the ball well and putted well,” Yoo said. ”I missed a couple putts, but 4 under is a good score so I’m pretty happy with where I’m at right now.”
Natalie Gulbis topped the group at 69.
Teen star Lexi Thompson had a 70, and defending champion Maria Hjorth opened with a 71. Last year, Hjorth took advantage of Thompson’s collapse, rallying to beat Song-Hee Kim by two strokes. Thompson, tied for the lead entering the final round, had a 78 to tie for 19th.