The wind laid down and scoring was low on day one of the Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open at Dundonald Links. LPGA Tour rookie Hye-Jin Choi led the way, firing an 8-under 64 in the mild, morning conditions, tying the course record set by Rafa Cabrera Bello on the DP World Tour in the final round of the Genesis Scottish Open in 2017. Choi carded seven birdies, one eagle and one bogey to tie her career-low round on the LPGA Tour, last recorded at the US Women’s Open presented by ProMedica, and currently leads by just a single shot.
“Today I had really good shots overall. But more than my shots, my putter was very good so I had a lot of chances,” said Choi, who needed only 27 putts to get the job done on Thursday. “I just made birdies when I got the chance and I played well with a good attitude on the rest of my holes. I just believed in my green-reading and just hit it. That really worked and all the balls hit the middle of hole. That helped me to keep up my confidence.”
A trio of players sit in a tie for second after opening their weeks at Dundonald Links with matching 65s. Seventeen-time LPGA Tour winner Lydia Ko went bogey-free for the 11th time this season on Thursday, carding three consecutive birdies on Nos. 4-6 as well as on 9, 11, 13 and 14. This is Ko’s fifth Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open appearance; she just missed out on the title last year at Dumbarnie Links, finishing in a tie for second with Atthaya Thitikul, her best result in the event.
“I actually really liked the golf course last year,” said Ko. “But this was a course that I’ve played well before when it was an LET event, and then I played really, really bad when it was an LPGA event so I wasn’t really sure. Mixed emotions coming into this week. But I played really solid. I gave myself good looks and I think even when I made mistakes I was pretty calm about things. And the weather was a lot nicer than I thought it was going to be.”
Celine Boutier came to Dundonald Links off a missed cut at the Amundi Evian Championship in her home country of France, but bounced back in Scotland with a first-round 65. Her bogey-free day was highlighted by back-to-back birdies on four and five, and it was Boutier’s putting performance that she felt gave her an edge on this unfamiliar venue.
“I think my putting was really solid all day. I feel like even when I missed greens and stuff and I had maybe five-, six-footers for par, I would make them,” she said. “It’s my first time playing this course so I was a little bit unsure what to expect. The thing that’s good about the Scottish or anything in the UK is that you can have so many different weather conditions so you just really have to go with the flow. It’s kind of nice because you just don’t have any expectations.”
Epson Tour graduate Lilia Vu carded one bogey and eight birdies on Thursday en route to tying her career-low round on the LPGA Tour. The highlight of her round came on the last when Vu nearly holed a 56 degree wedge from 83 yards, ultimately hitting it to a foot and tapping in for a closing birdie. Although there are three rounds left in Ayrshire, her solid play on day one of the Scottish Open has already been excited about next week’s AIG Women’s Open, the year’s final major. “I think it just excites me for the British next week,” she said. “I’m having fun out here, honestly.”
2018 AIG Women’s Open champion Georgia Hall and LPGA Tour rookie Na Rin An are tied for fifth at -6 with seven players rounding out the top-10 in a tie for seventh at -5, including 2022 US Women’s Open presented by ProMedica champion Minjee Lee . Defending champion Ryann O’Toole opened her week with a 4-under 68 (T14) and Scot Gemma Dryburgh shot a 3-under 69 (T18).