BELMONT, Mich. — It was a test of who wanted it more in the opening round of the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give on Thursday.
And Jennifer Kupcho came out ready. Thanks for four early birdies and an eagle on No. 14, Kupcho carded a 9-under 63 to lead after the first round at Blythefield Country Club.
Consistency proved to be an aspect of the game Kupcho was working on by making six birdies on the front nine. In all, she hit 10 of 13 fairways and 16 greens. She also managed to save par each of the three times she hit into bunkers.
Although she sounded confident about her performance, she said she believes this is just one part of the puzzle.
“It’s important to me, but again, you never know what’s gonna happen there’s a lot of golf left,” Kupcho said. “So I’ll just go out there and control what I can control.
“I’m not really thinking about it honestly, I’m still a little angry that my last putt didn’t go in, so that’s where I’m at.”
Kupcho leads Gerina Mendoza by a shot after she fired an 8-under par 64, including an eagle on the par-5 18th hole. That slid her past Lexi Thompson, Anna Nordqvist and Madelene Sagstrom, who are tied for third after they each posted 65s.
“I’ve just been trying to work on being more consistent. That’s kind of been my mantra my whole career. It’s been kind of all over the map recently, but I just really tried to focus on a spot in front of my ball and really commit to that line and to my swing,” Mendoza said.
Lately, Mendoza believes her numbers haven’t been good, but she “feels like her old self,” after Thursday’s round. Taking the time to settle in and find her groove, she had to remind herself to stay in the moment and not get ahead of herself after a few good shots.
“I haven’t really been posting many numbers as of late, so it just really gave me a big confidence boost and I kind of felt like my old self, just kind of plunking away and not thinking about the number or one more or calculating Mendoza said. “I just really stayed present in every shot. I know it’s very cliche to say, but it’s really what you have to do. Kind of just keep your head down.”
Thompson seemed pleased with her first round.
“I would say I was pretty good off the tee today. Like I said earlier, just staying in the moment, staying relaxed, not getting too high or low with my attitude,” she said. “Yeah, we’re not robots. We’re going to hit bad shots. It’s all a matter of getting over it as quickly as possible. I know it’s easier said than done, but it’s just a matter of staying positive, staying in the moment, and knowing you can pull off the next shot.”
Nelly Korda is tied for seventh at at 5 under.
“It’s so nice to be back, just in the city of Grand Rapids, too. It’s super nice. I really like it here. Everyone is so welcoming, and the crowd really gets behind this entire event, and the city gets behind this entire event,” Korda said. “I just really enjoy being here. I like the golf course, and I like the atmosphere.”
Last week’s winner, Brooke Henderson, is tied for 15th at 4 under.