The top three players in the world spent the day making history together at Muirfield as the first women’s professional event ever held at the iconic links course got underway. World no. 1 Jin Young Ko, No. 2 Minjee Lee and No. 3 Nelly Korda teed off in the afternoon local time at the 2022 AIG Women’s British Open, the final major of the year.
Two-time major winner Minjee Lee put up the best score in the group, a 3-under 68 that included a back-nine 32 and a chip-in on the 14th. Lee sits in a share of fifth, three shots behind leader Hinako Shibuno.
“I made really quite a few good up-and-downs on the back nine,” said the Aussie, “and to be 3 under the back nine, I think is quite good considering like 14 and 15, they play really tough.”
Lee has not finished outside the top 11 in her last four appearances in the British Open. She took 27 putts on the day.
Korda’s 1-under 70 included two birdies and an eagle on the par-5 fifth. She’s six behind Shibuno and five behind big sister Jessica. The Olympic gold medalist hit seven fairways and 14 greens.
“I mean, I was hitting it good,” said Korda. “I was getting some unfortunate breaks in the bunkers. I was actually hitting it really decent out of those lies. I just couldn’t make the par putts after, which obviously that’s probably even more frustrating than probably having like a 20-footer for par and missing that.”
Nelly Korda tees off on the 13th hole during Day One of the AIG Women’s Open at Muirfield on August 04, 2022 in Gullane, Scotland. (Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images)
Jin Young Ko last missed a cut in a major at the 2018 British Open. She’ll have her work cut out on Friday to keep that streak alive. Ko sits in a share of 106th after an opening 76 that included only one birdie. Ko last competed in the British Open in 2019 and has two top-three finishes in the event. She hit only four fairways on the day and nine greens.
“We’re not familiar with having to see her work this hard on a golf course,” said former British Open champion and on-course commentator Karen Stupples.
The top 65 and ties advance to the weekend.
Story originally appeared on GolfWeek