Round one of the Epson Tour Championship is complete and two players share the lead. Jiwon Jeon and Maddi Caldwell-Young shot 7-under and hold a tight one-shot lead heading into the second round.
Jeon started her day with a bogey but answered it with eight birdies on the rest of the round. After slipping up on the par-5 No. 10, the Korean knew she had to bounce back with a birdie. She then recorded two consecutive birdies, which gave her momentum for the remaining 15 holes.
“Ever since that [second] hole, I was very comfortable,” said Jeon. “I was in the comfort zone for most of the round, and then I finished up really good with a good score today.”
Jeon’s plan for the rest of the tournament is to keep an open mind and treat every day like the first round. No matter what happens each day, she’ll focus on the same thing as always – one shot at a time.
“I shot 7-under, but it is what it is today,” said Jeon. “I did great, but tomorrow is new day. I want to do the same thing as what I did today. I’m just trying to hit good shots on each shot and then just be relaxed and stay as calm as today and just do the same thing tomorrow.”
Caldwell-Young went bogey free on the day but didn’t feel like it was a mistake free day. Although the Georgia native thought she left putts on the course, she was still excited to see a clean scorecard.
“It's good [to go bogey-free],” said Caldwell-Young. “It's my second one this year, and I would like to do a little more of those.”
Part of Caldwell-Young’s preparation for the remaining three rounds is fixing her mistakes from earlier in the season. She has been in contention after the first 18 holes before but struggled to maintain the lead throughout the weekend.
“I've had some struggles this year capitalizing on my good rounds,” said Caldwell-Young. “So I'm going to focus on trying to do that tomorrow.”
Eight players sat one-stroke behind Jeon and Caldwell-Young. Hyo Joon Jang, Dottie Ardina, Ho-yu An, Gigi Stoll, Ssu-Chia Cheng, Polly Mack, Bailey Tardy and Linnea Ström shared third place at 6-under.
Mack finished her round strong, pushing herself into the T3 position, with an eagle on No. 18. The German drained a 27-footer to walk off the green happy and in contention.
“I think it was longest putt I made today and felt pretty good,” said Mack. “In general, the second nine felt really nice. I didn't make a bogey again and I think I hit 17 greens.”
Stoll and Cheng both went bogey-free on the day. A total of 87 players shot even-par or better, including all nine of the top 10 competing this week.