Nicole Garcia opened her account at the Buick Championship with a Thursday round of 68 and claimed a share of the early lead.
The 25-year-old kept a clean sheet on the front side and birdied the third and fourth before turning in 32. She added further red numbers at the 11th and 13th, took a drop at the 16th, and recovered the shot at the 18th.
‘I haven’t shot under par for a long time, so I’m really happy,’ she said. ‘I started well and got a bit of momentum. I really like the course and it suits me. The greens are fantastic. I haven’t been putting well lately but today it was better and I was at least starting it on line.’
All told, she was four-under-par after the first round and shared the lead at Shanghai Qizhong Garden Golf with Melissa Reid and Becky Morgan.
Earlier this year Garcia missed the cut at the World Ladies Championship and then tied for 62nd at the Lalla Meryem Cup in Dar es Salam.
Her opening round of 68 in China this week has put her in position to make ground on the order of merit. She’ll need to continue avoiding bogeys in order to stay in contention.
‘I’ve been working really hard on my putting and it’s only starting to get better now. I struggled with the pace in Morocco, so when I got here all I did was pace putts, which I think really helped. I had 29 putts today,’ she said.