PORTLAND, Ore. – Ayako Uehara gained momentum with par saves on her first two holes and turned it into a 7 under 65 for a one shot lead Thursday in AmazingCre Portland Classic.
Hannah Green shot 66, despite a double bogey on the final hole at Columbia Edgewater Country Club. Nelly Korda was just behind her.
Ueharas surprise win comes in a year when the LPGA Tour already has eight first-time winners. The 38-year-old Uehara has been on tour since a decade ago. Her only three victories were on the Japan LPGA.
Add to this the fact that Uehara missed so much of the year due to a lung condition making it difficult to breath. She was diagnosed with a lung condition and was declared fully healthy. But she didnt return to work for six months.
This is my third tournament. Uehara stated that she was excited about the tournament and then happy to be here.
Uehara made par twice to start the round and then made five birdies over seven holes. Uehara took the lead after her single bogey on the 13th par-3.
Korda, No. Korda, the No. 2 player in womens world rankings, had a colorful front 9. There were only two pars. After a birdie, she followed it up with a double-bogey on the par-4 6th hole and then finished with an eaglebirdie-birdie.
Korda said, Kinda up and down day, but ended in the positive side. Overall I played some solid golf. I made some mistakes, but thats golf.
Korda still hopes to win her first LPGA title of the year. Due to a blood clot in her left leg, Korda missed four months of the year and has since won on the Ladies European Tour. A win would see her return to No. Jin Young Ko, Portlands defending champion, will be at No. 1 for a month while she rests her left wrist.
Korda would be able to avoid the trees on a course with so many trees.
Its a beautiful course. Korda spoke of the many tall, large trees. But they are very thick and very high. They also start very thick, as if they were very low. Its difficult to see the fairway if you miss it.
Hinako Shibuno (former Womens British Open champion) and Caroline Inglis were also there at 67.
Brooke Henderson was a participant in the afternoon, and she joined the group at number 68.
Korda was not the only player to have a colorful card. Hye-Jin Choi, South Korea, signed a card which had a 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, and 6 on it. The last one was a double birdie to complete her round of 70. She got her ace at the par-3 eighth hole.