At the first women’s major of the year, Georgia Hall of England is three strokes behind surprise leader Peiyun Chien. At The Club at Carlton Woods in Texas, Taiwan’s 189th-ranked Chien shot a 67 to lead the standings on five under.
Olympic gold medalist Nelly Korda is one of six players tied for second place on four under, one stroke back. Twelve players, including Hall, are at three under par, while Lydia Ko, the world number one, is four strokes back.
Ko from New Zealand earned a mixed-round score of 71 after four birdies and three bogeys in his first round. When play was paused due to inclement weather for about an hour, Korda, the reigning champion and world number two Jennifer Kupcho, US Open champion Minjee Lee, and British Open champion Ashleigh Buhai were among the late entrants.
Chien, 32, ended well with four birdies in his final five holes after losing a stroke on the first. Chien, who tied for fourth place at the Lotte Championship last week, earned her best season performance and stated, “I saw the pin sheet last night and I can’t sleep. It’s very challenging. I believe we performed exceptionally well today.”
Along with South Korean Chella Choi and Japanese Ayaka Furue, Korda is joined by Marina Alex and Lilia Vu, who are also one shot behind her.
Hall is competing for her first major victory since winning the British Open in 2018, shot a 70 to tie for ninth place. With seven bogeys in her 79, Charley Hull had a dismal day.
After 51 years at the Mission Hills Country Club in California, the event will finally be staged this year at the Jack Nicklaus-designed course close to Houston.