Three of the world’s best players spent the day making history together at Muirfield as the first women’s pro event ever to take place at the iconic Links course began. World No. 1 Jin Yong Ko, No. 2 Minji Lee and No. 3 Nelly Korda started this afternoon local time at the 2022 UK Women’s Open, the final Major of the year.
Two-time major tournament winner Minji Lee posted the best result of the group with 3 out of 68, including 32 defenders and a chip in 14th place. Lee sits in the share of the fifth, three shots in the back to the leader Hinako Shibuno.
“I made quite a lot of good shots up and down on the back nine,” said the Aussie, “and being 3 under the back nine I think is not bad, given that 14 and 15 play very hard.”
Lee has never finished outside the top 11 in her last four matches at the British Open. During the day she made 27 strokes.
The 1-to-70 cord included two birdies and an eagle on the fifth pair of 5. She is six years older than Shibuno and five years older than Jessica’s older sister. The Olympic champion hit seven fairways and 14 greens.
“I mean, I hit well,” Korda said. “I had bad breaks in the bunkers. I’ve actually gotten pretty good at it from this lie. I just couldn’t par-putts after that, and obviously that’s probably even more frustrating than probably having a 20-foot par-ball and missing it.”
Nellie Korda hits the tee-off on the 13th hole during the first day of the AIG Women’s Tournament at Muirfield on August 4, 2022 in Gullane, Scotland. (Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images)
The last time Jin Young Ko missed a major was at the 2018 British Open. On Friday, she will interrupt her work to save this series. Ko is in 106th place after opening 76, which had only one bird. Ko last competed at the 2019 UK Open and finished in the top three twice. She only hit four fairways and nine greens in a day.
“We’re not used to seeing her work so hard on the golf course,” said former British Open champion and course commentator Karen Stapples.
Top 65 and a tie roll over to the weekend.