Ireland’s Leona Maguire rolled in nine birdies in the opening round of the LPGA Mediheal Championship to take a one-shot lead at 7 under. But the big question heading into the first round at Lake Merced: How would Lexi Thompson fare?
After suffering a devastating collapse at the U.S. Women’s Open, less than four miles down the road at The Olympic Club, Thompson took Monday off for a photo shoot and then got right back to work. She’s currently tied for 14th at the Mediheal after a 1-under 71.
“Really just surrounded myself with my dad and my manager as well,” said Thompson, when asked how she tried to reset. Thompson also noted that she tried to sign as many autographs as she could.
“Just really focused on the good that came out of Sunday, and the good that I had that whole week.”
Thompson, who is currently tied for 11th, said she hit two “iffy” tee shots on Thursday but rolled it well coming in. She hit nine fairways, 14 greens and took 33 putts. She also pitched in for eagle on the par-5 fifth.
“It was good that I just didn’t go home and ponder over it all,” she said of the decision to play this week.
Thompson, of course, rebounded with a victory at the Kingsmill Championship shortly after that brutal loss at the 2017 ANA Inspiration. She also won the ShopRite LPGA Classic immediately after a runner-up finish at the 2019 U.S. Women’s Open.
Leona Maguire lines up her putt on the 15th hole during the first round of the LPGA Mediheal Championship at Lake Merced Golf Club in Daly City, California. Photo by Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Rookie Maguire has a new Irish caddie on the bag this week and said Lake Merced has a home feeling to it. It’s also the first time identical twin sister Lisa has been out on tour with Leona since last February. The pair planned to visit the Golden Gate Bridge Thursday afternoon.
“I suppose the weather is similar to home, even the golf course is similar to home,” said Maguire. “It’s very green and sort of tree-lined a little bit like what we get at home. Northern California’s been good to me and I won my first Symetra event not too far from here, so these kind of golf courses suit my eye and it was a lot of fun to play with Lydia (Ko), and we played a lot together over the last few months at Lake Nona.”
In keeping the recent Stanford storylines going, Cardinal grad Albane Valenzuela holds a share of third after a 4-under 68 with former teammate Ziyi Wang, who goes by Emily, on the bag. Wang, a Rhodes Scholar, graduated from Stanford with a Master’s degree in international policy on Wednesday.
“She’s really like my best, best friend from college,” said Valenzuela, “and this week neither my dad or my brother could caddie because my brother is playing in the Mexican Am, so I called her and I was like, ‘Can you please caddie for me?’ She was like, ‘done deal.’ Reply within five minutes. Really cool.”
Inbee Park headlines a group at 3 under, making four consecutive birdies on Nos. 4-7. Park said she didn’t get too much rest after the USWO because she played Harding Park with a few friends earlier this week.
The LPGA Hall of Famer is a huge fan of Bay Area courses.
“Obviously the weather is a little bit chilly for those two weeks and we’re going to be in the summer after this,” she said, “but I really enjoyed playing these two courses. They’re a little bit different. Both really good layouts I love to play.”