RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – Playing partners Suzann Pettersen and Na Yeon Choi took advantage of perfect morning conditions Thursday to share the first-round lead with Jodi Ewart Shadoff in the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
Finishing before the temperature climbed into the low 90s in the Coachella Valley, Pettersen and Choi had bogey-free rounds of 4-under 68 at Mission Hills. Ewart Shadoff matched them late in the afternoon with the wind picking up at the first major championship of the year.
The course is perfect, Pettersen said. Greens are rolling pure. If you miss the fairways, you can be in a bit of trouble. The rough is deep. I missed one or two. You really just have to try and advance it somehow up to the greens if you can get that far.
Ewart Shadoff, playing in the last group of the day off first tee, made four straight birdies – the last with a 20-foot putt on the No. 14 – to take the lead at 5 under. She missed a 4-foot par putt on the par-4 16th to drop back and scrambled to save par on the par-5 18th after her drive found the deep right rough.
Anna Nordqvist and Amy Yang were a stroke back at 69.
Former Fort Wayne resident Amanda Blumenherst shot a 7-over 79.
PGA: In San Antonio, Matt Bettencourt and Peter Tomasulo shot 5-under 67s to earn the surprising lead after the first round of the Texas Open.
Bettencourt made the tournament as an alternate. The former Reno-Tahoe Open winner needed only 25 putts, joining Tomasulo in holding off a group of four players – including three-time major winner Padraig Harrington – at 4 under.
Harrington and Billy Horschel shared the lead following the morning tee times, battling chilly and windy conditions. They were joined by Bryce Molder and Harris English at 4 under in the afternoon.
Rory McIlroy, who entered the tournament as a final opportunity to prep for next weeks Masters, opened with an even-par 72 and is tied for 45th.