Canada’s Maddie Szeryk fired an eagle and six birdies in a seven-under par 65 on Friday to join Moriya Jutanugarn and Jenny Shin atop the leaderboard at the LPGA Drive On Championship.
Szeryk, who came through the Q-series to reclaim his tour card, joined Thailand’s Moriya and South Korea’s Shin on 12-under par 132 at Superstition Mountain in Arizona.
Moriya had an eagle and five birdies without a bogey in her 65 while Shin had seven birdies — including a burst of five in a row — in her five-under par 67.
The leading trio were a stroke in front of American Lilia Vu, who carded a six-under par 66 for 133.
Szeryk, who had to wait for the first full-field event of the season this week to launch her 2023 campaign, had two birdies in her first four holes before she drove the green at her fifth — the par-four 14th — something she wasn’t expecting with the group ahead still on the putting surface.
“I knew I would be close, but I didn’t think I would quite get there,” she said. “It was super downwind and it rolled out a lot and they were on the green, so I felt bad.
“It just, like, bounced up there. I was like, oh, sorry. But I hit it and it was like online just seven feet short and made the putt, so I was like, OK, that’s a pretty good eagle.”
After a bogey at the 17th, Szeryk had four birdies on her inward run, including a birdie at the ninth for her share of the lead.
Thailand’s Moriya, chasing her third US LPGA Tour title and her first since 2021, said she didn’t hit the ball as well as she did on Thursday, but her putter came through.
One “really good drive” yielded her eagle at the seventh. Her tee shot ended up in the cart path, from where she was able to take a drop.
“It’s not a very good second shot, but pretty lucky as the ball bounced up all the way to the back of the green and (I) just made the putt,” she said.
Shin, whose only prior LPGA tour title came at the 2016 Texas, was among three players sharing the overnight lead.
She shook off an opening bogey at the 10th hole with a birdie at 11.
After a bogey at the par-five 13th, the 30-year-old caught fire with birdies at holes 14 through 18. She’d add one more birdie coming in, at the par-four third.
Shin, whose three top-10 finishes last season included a third place in the LPGA Match Play, was pleased with her score in “really difficult” windy conditions.
“Really tough, but right in the middle I gave myself pretty good opportunities with the short clubs in,” she said.