Lopez shot a five-under-par 67 on Thursday to take a one-stroke lead at the LPGA season-opening event in Florida; watch Round 2 of the Tournament of Champions live on Sky Sports Mix from 5pm Friday

Last update: 20/01/22 23:06

World No 1 Nelly Korda is one shot away from the lead

Mexico’s Gaby Lopez holds a one-shot lead after the first round of the Tournament of Champions, ahead of a chasing group that includes world No. 1 Nelly Korda.

Lopez shot a five-under par 67 on Thursday to take a one-shot lead at the LPGA’s season-opening event in Florida.

The 29-man field is tight, with 18 shooting under par in the first round at Lake Nona Golf and Country Club in Orlando.

Korda is part of a group of four players one shot from the four-under pace that includes fellow Americans Danielle Kang and Ryann O’Toole as well as Japan’s Yuka Saso. Korda’s sister and defending champion, Jessica, as well as Canada’s Brooke Henderson and Thailand’s Pajaree Anannarukarn also fought back.

England's Georgia Hall are three shots off two under

England’s Georgia Hall are three shots off two under

England’s Georgia Hall finished at two under, alongside Solheim Cup teammate Celine Boutier of France. Hall had six birdies to go along with four bogies in a hectic first lap.

They are all pursuing Lopez, the 2020 event champion at the Tranquilo Golf Club at the Four Seasons Golf and Sports Club.

After a bogey on the 11th – her second hole on Thursday – Lopez quickly adapted to the new Orlando site by going six under her final 14 holes.

Lopez outlasted Nasa Hataoka and Inbee Park in a seven-hole playoff two years ago, while Kang lost on the first playoff to Jessica Korda last year. Kang’s only blemish on his scorecard was a bogey in 10th.

England's Georgia Hall are three shots off two under

England’s Georgia Hall are three shots off two under

Nelly Korda showed her own rust in a much more adventurous round. She was two out of four holes before landing three consecutive birdies.

Korda added another birdie on the 10th before hitting his approach shot on the par five to four-foot 11th hole and converting the eagle. In all, his card featured five birdies, three bogies and the eagle.

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“I was just spraying it everywhere, left, right, you name it,” she said. “I was just like, ‘OK, so it’s going to be a chore today.’ What he was.

“I still hit a few loose shots here and there, but I hit close on those three holes and kind of capitalized on that.”

Nelly Korda recovered after being two out of four holes

Nelly Korda recovered after being two out of four holes

Korda holds the longest run by an American at No. 1 and will keep it this week with South Korean Jin Young Ko not on the court. Korda competed in last month’s PNC Challenge with her sister and said she plans to skip the tour’s next Asian swing and use it as her “offseason.”

Michelle Wie West, competing after maternity leave thanks to her victory in 2018 at the HSBC Women’s World Championship, started with an under-71 and is tied for 14th. The 32-year-old had five birdies to help offset four bogies.

LPGA Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam leads the celebrity competition by one point with 33 on Thursday. Defending champion Mardy Fish is tied for 14th with 27.

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