The leaderboard is jammed after the first round of the Bank of Hope Founders Cup with four players tied for the lead.

Americans Stacy Lewis, Sandra Changkija and Katie Burnett, Korean native In Gee Chun, and Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn all played Wildfire Golf Club at 8-under-par 64 today.

With the high temperature nearing 90 degrees Fahrenheit, players battled the heat all day and will have to do so the rest of the week. Temps will be in the high 80’s to low 90’s all weekend.

Lewis began her round with a birdie on the first hole at Wildfire Golf Club, on her way to a 29 on the front nine but came back down to earth on the back nine finishing with a lone bogey on the day.  Lewis, who has finished in the top five of this event in each of the last four years including a win in 2013, is playing well early this season and looking for her first win since 2014.

“Got off to a great start. That was the beginning,” said Lewis. “Just making some putts early; hitting a lot of good shots, and great putt on 8; 9 was awesome. The 9-iron was perfect in the air. Nice to see it go in.

You kind of start thinking a little bit about what you're shooting at that point but just tried to keep hitting good shots. I did that, for the most part, most of the day. If you'd tell me at the beginning of the day I would shoot 8-under, I would take it anytime.”

Changkija started the day birdie, eagle, bogey on her way to one of the best rounds of her career, coming in the first round of the 2012 Manulife Financial LPGA Classic. Changkija hasn’t been doing anything particular since the Bahamas except dropping a few putts. 

“I like desert golf courses,” said Changkija. “It fits my eye.  We won nationals my junior year in college.”

The Thailand native had a nice bogey-free round to share the lead after the opening round in Phoenix.

“I feel pretty good. I mean, I feel good because I try to work on my commitment today and it's come out pretty good,” said Jutanugarn. “I miss few putt, too. I just make a pretty long putt like twice today.”



64 - Sandra Changkija, In Gee Chun (KOR), Ariya Jutanugarn (THA), Stacy Lewis, Katie Burnett

65 - Sherman Santiwiwatthanaphong (THA), Juli Inkster, Jane Park, Michelle Wie, Vicky Hurst

66 - Lee Lopez, Yan Jing (CHN), Ai Miyazato (JPN), Pornanong Phatlum (THA), Hur Mi-Jung, Nelly Korda, Sandra Gal (GER)


Written By: Jennifer Meyer LPGA