LOS ANGELES — Worn out after two long nights with infant daughter Chesnee, Stacy Lewis shot a 6-under 65 on Thursday for a share of the lead — tied with Hannah Green — after the first round of the Hugel-Air Premia LA Open.
“I’m looking forward to get a little rest,” Lewis said. “Really with the baby, it’s different every day. She could be in a great mood, and all of a sudden she’s screaming, and you don’t know why. And we’re getting teeth, so it’s just the age that she is.”
The 34-year-old Texan is making her sixth LPGA Tour start since Chesnee’s birth in late October.
“My mom was here. She left on Monday,” Lewis said. “My husband [University of Houston women’s golf coach Gerrod Chadwell] is coming in tonight. I wanted to just kind of see how was it by myself for a couple days, and she chose to have her worst night in months right after my mom leaves.”
Lewis birdied four of her last six holes in the bogey-free round at Wilshire Country Club.
“I hit it good and putted well,” Lewis said. “That’s kind of the combination that’s been missing, is just putting both of them together. Finally did it on the same day.”
The 12-time tour winner missed the cut last year in the inaugural event, shooting 75-73.
“Last year it was super firm, and so I did not like the golf course,” she said. “Just felt like you didn’t get rewarded with good shots, and it was a little bit of goofy golf. Now the greens are much more receptive, and you can just hit a lot better golf shots. They’re still difficult to putt, but I just feel like you get rewarded more for good shots.”
Green also had a bogey-free round.
“My ball-striking was great, but also my putter was really hot,” she said. “I was really happy with how I rolled it. … I think whoever wins this week will have the least amount of putts.”
Fellow Australian Minjee Lee was a stroke back, also playing bogey-free.
“It was pretty solid all-around,” said Lee, ranked fourth. “I just hit the greens, and then if I was close, I would try and take opportunity of my birdie chances. If not, then I would be able to have a par.”
Canada’s Anne-Catherine Tanguay followed at 67.
Brooke Henderson, the Canadian who won the Lotte Championship last week in Hawaii, was at 68 with Inbee Park, Shanshan Feng, Lizette Salas, Angel Yin, Isi Gabsa, Sarah Jane Smith, Jing Yan and Jasmine Suwannapura.
Lewis played alongside Inbee Park and Sung Hyun Park.
“It was nice playing with Inbee,” Lewis said. “I hadn’t played with her in a while. I love playing with her because she hits so many good putts. Kind of get some confidence just seeing the ball roll really well.”
The second-ranked Sung Hyun Park shot 76.
Top-ranked Jin Young Ko had a 70 in the afternoon, playing alongside Henderson and third-ranked Ariya Jutanugarn. Ko is the only player with multiple victories this year, taking the Founders Cup in Phoenix and the major ANA Inspiration in Rancho Mirage.
Jutanugarn opened with a 73. Defending champion Moriya Jutanugarn, Ariya’s older sister, had a 71.
Nelly Korda shot a 73 in the afternoon. Sister Jessica Korda had a 74 in the morning, playing a four-hole stretch in 5 over with three straight bogeys and a double-bogey.
Sixth-ranked Lexi Thompson also struggled in the morning, shooting 75. She was 5 over in a five-hole span, making three bogeys and a double-bogey.