Johnson shoots 62, grabs early lead in New Jersey
05/30/2014 6:04 PM
05/30/2014 8:22 PM
Galloway, NJ (SportsNetwork.com) - Jennifer Johnson fired a course-record tying 9-under 62 on Friday to claim a 1-stroke lead after the opening round of the ShopRite LPGA Classic.
Johnson earned her lone win on the LPGA Tour at the 2013 Mobile Bay LPGA Classic.
Haru Nomura carded an 8-under 63 on the Bay Course at Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club to sit alone in second place, while Christina Kim is in third at 7-under 64.
World No. 1 Inbee Park and Na Yeon Choi shot matching 5-under 66s to share fourth. Stacy Lewis, Michelle Wie, Sandra Gal, Chella Choi, Sarah Kemp, Laura Diaz, Brittany Lincicome, Jennifer Kirby and Gerina Piller are tied for sixth at 4-under 67.
Johnson flew out of the gate with birdies on three of her first four holes. After three pars in a row, she stumbled to her lone bogey of the day on the par-4 eighth.
The 22-year-old bounced back with a tap-in birdie on the ninth, and she made the turn at minus-3.
Johnson continued to roll around the turn as she birdied the first four holes of the back nine to jump to minus-7. After a pair of pars, she birdied the 16th. Johnson closed out her round with a 7-foot birdie putt on the par-5 closing hole to match the course record.
"I just started out with a birdie, and on the second hole I almost made another birdie and then just kept making a few more birdies. Just gave myself chances all day long, and that really helps on these greens, when you hit it close because if not, you're going to be hitting some bumps out there," Johnson said.
"I've been playing well the past few weeks, and so I felt pretty good about my game, and if you just let it happen and just let a good round come together, you know, normally it does."
Nomura teed off just before Johnson, but on the opposite nine. Nomura opened with a birdie on the 10th. After two pars, she converted a birdie on the par-4 13th.
The Q School grad from last year finished her first nine holes with a birdie on No. 18 as she turned in minus-3. Nomura caught fire on the inward nine.
She converted back-to-back birdie chances at three and four. After a birdie on the sixth, Nomura capped her round with birdies at eight and nine as she ended one back.
"All in all my putting was on. My shots were really good and the conditions were really great. So everything was perfect today," said Nomura.
NOTES: Johnson's 62 was a career-low round on the LPGA Tour ... Wie's 67 was her seventh round in the 60s in her last nine rounds ... If Lewis or Lydia Ko finishes first or second, and Park doesn't win, Lewis and Ko could both pass Park for the top spot in the world rankings ...Defending champion Karrie Webb opened with a 2-under 69 and she is tied for 27th.