After day one of the Circling Raven Championship, four women share the lead at 7-under. Alisa Rodriguez, Polly Mack, Pavarisa Yoktuan and Ana Paula Valdes have a one-stroke lead over the rest of the field.
Rodriguez spent last week in California, competing in Stage I of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament. She thought about taking this week off to rest, but her dad encouraged her to keep the momentum – evidently paying off. The Texan went bogey-free and only missed two greens on the day. She says she’s happy to see putting practice paying off.
“If you would have told me that I had to go back to Q-School and the week after I’d be tied for first, I would have laughed,” said Rodriguez. “But it’s a great feeling.”
Mack, who recently finished third at the French Lick Charity Classic and T12 at the Four Winds Invitational, kept momentum just like Rodriguez. The German carded nine birdies on the day, three of which were consecutive from No. 13 to No. 15.
“It felt good, and I’m really happy I made that last birdie,” said Mack. “That was important to me because I don’t think I’ve ever shot 7-under. I’ve shot 8-under and 6-under, but not 7-under, so I’m really happy with that round.”
Yoktuan finds her name at the top of the leaderboard once again, after going bogey-free and carding seven birdies. She finished the morning thankful for a solid round with good weather.
“It felt nice,” said Yoktuan. “Luckily this morning it wasn’t really windy. I told myself to be patient. I’m hitting it good, and it’s going to go in once I hit the speed.”
Like Mack, Valdes also recorded nine birdies on the day. She had a perfect front nine but carded two birdies on No. 16 and 17. One of the birdies started her round on No. 1, which Valdes said helped her get into a comfortable spot.
“It started the momentum and a good attitude,” said Valdes. “It was a good first hole.”
One stroke behind the leaders were Gabriela Ruffels, Allie White and Hira Naveed. White and Naveed both went bogey-free, while Ruffels balanced out her lone bogey with seven birdies. White, who played in the 2021 event, credits last year’s experience and the morning weather for the low round.
“It definitely helped knowing the course from last year,” said White. “The wind was also down for us this morning, which helped a lot. I just felt awesome coming off the last green.”
A total of 89 players shot even par or better, including Idaho native Gabby Lemieux and University of Idaho graduate Sophie Hausmann.