LET standout and LPGA rookie Caroline Masson opened the North Texas LPGA Shootout with a bogey-free 64 on a par-71 Las Colinas course that gave lots of top LPGA stars fits. And how sweet must it have been for Masson to finish 2 strokes ahead of Carlota Ciganda, the only woman who finished ahead of her on last year's LET money list? On a day when only 16 players broke 70 and 31 finished under par, these youngsters from Europe stole the show, even as 16-year-old amateur Taylor Coleman was putting together a back-9 bogey-free 31 late in the morning to post a 68 of her own. Neither Masson nor Ciganda has made a smooth transition from LET success to even LPGA competence, so rounds like these are crucial confidence builders and signs of the vast potential these experienced but young players possess.
Other newbies to the LPGA like Mo Martin (67), Jessica Korda (69), and Haeji Kang (69) continued their fine play in 2013. But Danielle Kang (78), Catriona Matthew (76), Ai Miyazato (75), Se Ri Pak (75), Paula Creamer (73), Beatriz Recari (73), Guilia Sergas (73), Amy Yang (73), Pornanong Phatlum (73), and Stacy Lewis (72) had much more difficulty with Las Colinas than their 2013 records would have led one to expect. Even more surprising was the number of golfers who had been struggling--sometimes for a long time--coming up with hot starts today, from Kristy McPherson, Mi Jung Hur, and Felicity Johnson at -4 to Christina Kim and Hee Young Park at -3 to Moira Dunn and Azahara Munoz at -2.
Just to be clear, it's not like we're lacking star power high on the leaderboard. World #1 Inbee Park opened with a 5-birdie 67, Ya Ni Tseng had a 4-birdie 69, and Na Yeon Choi doubled her final hole, the 9th, to end up with a 4-birdie 70, while Texan Angela Stanford began her campaign with a 69 and Ji-Yai Shin shook off a back injury to start with a 70, where she was joined by the likes of Suzann Pettersen, In-Kyung Kim, Hee Kyung Seo, Cristie Kerr, and Brittany Lincicome.
So we'll see which group of players will master Las Colinas over the next 54 holes. Will it be the surprising youngsters and vets, or will the golfers who have had good 2013s thus far keep it rolling? Check out LPGA.com's overview and notes and interviews for hints....