Despite morning thunderstorms that delayed the day by an hour and a half, the first round of Ann Arbor’s Road to the LPGA powered by the A2 Sports Commission is complete. Pavarisa Yoktuan finished 6-under 66 and holds the lead heading into the second round.
“With the condition [of the course], I’m happy with my score,” said Yoktuan.
The first round brought many challenges for Yoktuan, including the weather delay and flying solo for half of the round. The Thai’s caddie had extended her trip as much as possible before having to return to school in Orlando. However, Yoktuan finished the round by herself and unphased.
“I play my own game,” said Yoktuan. “I had to rethink a little, but after a hole it was better.”
Yoktuan carded six birdies, three of which came consecutively from No. 13 to No. 15. She almost went bogey-free, but missed a par putt on her last hole, No. 9. That putt is one of the only shots she says she left on the course.
“I think there’s only two putts that I feel like I shouldn’t have missed,” said Yoktuan. “I also made some putts that I shouldn’t have made, so it’s okay.”
A two-shot lead separates Yoktuan and four others who are tied for second. Daniela Darquea, Grace Kim, Karen Chung and Kiira Riihijarvi are -4 after 18 holes.
Darquea recorded five birdies on the day, two back-to-back to close out her round.
2022 Champion, Grace Kim, fired off six birdies on the day ¾ all on the course’s front nine, her second nine. Like Darquea, Kim finished her round with four consecutive birdies.
“It definitely is a big confidence booster, for sure,” said Kim. “The course isn’t playing that easy, so just to be able to have a good first round out of the way is quite settling. I’m really looking forward to the next two days.”
Like Yoktuan, Karen Chung had three consecutive birdies on Nos. 3, 4 and 5 to go with only one bogey at 15 in what she termed her “cold” nine.
“I was basically just trying to survive,” said Chung. “I came to the back nine, and I started hitting it a little bit better and putts started falling. My putting was really good today, so that helped me out a lot.”
Rounding out the top-5 is 2021 rookie, Kiira Riihijarvi. The Fin recorded five under-par holes on the day, following the theme of consecutive birdies, with two back-to-back on No. 4 and No. 5.
A total of 53 players ended Thursday at even-par or better.