Minjee Lee launched her LPGA Match-Play campaign with a 6&5 victory over Chun Young-in at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas on Wednesday.
The Australian, ranked fourth in the world and the top seed in the 64-strong field, seized control with back-to-back birdies to win the 3rd and 4th holes. She birdied 6 and 7 and eagled the 9th before winning the 10th and 11th with pars.
Chun won the 12th with a birdie before Lee took the match when they halved the 13th.
“It was really fun today,” said Lee, whose victory two weeks ago in New Jersey was her first since she captured her maiden Major at the Evian Championship last year.
“I made a bunch of birdies. It was nice to get done early today – it’s getting really hot. It’s nice to have played really well today and hopefully I can take it into tomorrow.”
The first of three days of round-robin play featured quite a few lopsided results, including Malaysian Kelly Tan’s 7&6 victory over ailing American Danielle Kang.
Tan took a 1-up lead with a par at the 2nd and never trailed.
She won six straight holes starting at the 5th – only three of them with birdies – as Kang, who withdrew from two of her last three events with back trouble, struggled to keep pace.
The American, who lives in Las Vegas and was hoping for a home-field boost in her return to competition, didn’t have a birdie and didn’t win a hole.
“I gave myself a lot of chances,” Tan said. “It looked like she was in a little bit of pain and I kind of felt a little bad, but me and my caddie just tried to focus on our game. The end goal is to win the match.”
Mexico’s Gaby Lopez had a more encouraging return from back and neck troubles, beating South Korean veteran Chella Choi 6&5.
Lopez said her recent time off had benefited her mentally as well as physically.
“Sometimes we get caught up so much into the bubble of golf and you’re so drawn into what are you doing wrong and what do you need to improve,” she said. “Sometimes taking time off kind of fixes everything by itself.”
Hong Kong’s Tiffany Chan got off to a strong start with a 3&2 victory over second-seeded Thai Atthaya Thitikul.
American Ally Ewing’s title defence got off to a stuttering start as she fell 6&5 to England’s Jodi Ewart Shadoff.
Germany’s Sophia Popov, runner-up to Ewing last year, fell 2&1 to South Korea’s Jenny Shin.
© Agence France-Presse