Canadian duo Brooke Henderson and Alena Sharp took the first round lead at the LPGA Tour’s inaugural Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational tournament on Wednesday with a five-under-par 65.
In the first ever two-player team event in LPGA Tour history, Henderson and Sharp recovered from a dropped shot on the opening hole to rattle off five birdies and only one more bogey.
“At the beginning, it was a bit nerve-wracking to get going,” Sharp said.
“Then once we got a good game plan, we helped each other read some putts. We got on a nice roll and a nice rhythm and hit some shots, made some putts, and really never got into huge trouble.”
The tournament at Midland Country Club in Midland, Michigan got under way a day earlier than traditional LPGA Tour events in order to allow players time to travel to next week’s Evian Championship in France.
Under tournament rules, Wednesday and Friday’s first and third rounds will be alternate shot, while Thursday and Saturday’s second and fourth rounds are best ball. Seventy-one two-player teams are in the field, with 35 advancing past the cut.
Henderson and Sharp lead by one shot from US duo Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel, who carded a four-under-par 66 on the 6,599-yard layout.
The highlight for Creamer and Pressel came on the par-five third hole, with the duo combining for an eagle three.
A cluster of four teams were a further shot back on three under after posting opening 67s: Australia’s Minjee Lee and South Korea’s Ko Jin-young, Robyn Choi and Jaclyn Lee, Cydney Clanton and Jasmine Suwannapura, and South Korea’s Lee Mirim and Amy Yang.
Five pairings were tied for seventh on two under, including Thailand’s Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras and Pajaree Anannarukarn.
Thai sisters Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn were tied for 20th after carding an opening even-par 70.