England's Jodi Ewart Shadoff shot a first round 5-under par 67 at the Kia Classic to gain a share of the first round lead with Inbee Park, Brittany Lang and Ai Miyazato.
Ewart Shadoff is coming off a series of changes, having overhauled her swing with David Leadbetter and Dr. Bob Winters who is working with her on the mental aspects of the game as well as her short game. Through it all she battled a back injury, missing 11 cuts in 2015, her best finish coming in a T-23 in her penultimate event of the season at the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic.
“Yeah, just over the past year and a half or so, making a lot of swing changes and improvements, and last year wasn't my greatest year but we were going through a lot of swing changes,” Ewart Shadoff told the media.
“Finally they were starting to make a good impact. I'm gaining a lot of confidence working with my sports psychologist, Dr. Bob Winters, and everything is just really starting to gel together now and every part of my game has improved a lot over the past six months or so.”
Inbee Park has struggled in her start to 2016 but showed signs of returning to form on Thursday in Carlsbad, carding a bogey-free 5-under par, 67 to move into a share of the lead. For Park, getting her putter going is something she hasn't been able to do in recent weeks and when the world No.2 is rolling the ball well, she's nearly unstoppable. Park made it around in 27 putts on day one.
“Yeah I mean everything went really well out there today, especially I dropped some good putts today so that’s why I was able to shoot a good round. It’s always good to have a good round like this going into a major,” Park told the media.
“The greens are actually in much better shape than in previous years. I was quite comfortable on the greens today and obviously getting some confidence on the greens was huge, so.”
World No.1 Lydia Ko, Jane Park and Mi Jung Hur are T-5 at 4-under par. Michelle Wie carded her best round since the Coates Golf Championship, posting a 2-under par, 70 to sit T-14 after day one. Defending champion Cristie Kerr finished with a 1-over par, 73 to finish T-56 for the day.
Alison Lee withdrew from the Kia Classic before completing her opening round and did not give a reason. Lee missed the cut at last week’s JTBC Founders Cup at 8-over par, her first missed cut since the 2015 RICOH Women’s British Open.