Blomqvist One Back Monnet-Melocco Wins Car
Blomqvist, last years Ryder Cup Wales Rookie of the Year who has a penchant for carding low numbers as was highlighted by her two rounds of 62 on the LET last year, rattled off eight birdies and two bogeys and trails by a shot from first-round leader Bo Bae Song, the 2004 Korean LPGA order of merit winner whose faultless round of 65 included five birdies and an eagle.
New Zealander Lynnette Brooky sits in a three-way tie for third place at 4 under par alongside LET rookie Elisa Serramia from Spain and Marine Monnet-Melocco from France, whose 69 included a hole-in-one at the notoriously difficult par-3 17th hole, which earned her a brand new Renault Megane Coupe Cabriolet.
And tied for seventh place on 3-under-par 69 is pre-tournament favourite Laura Davies, Rebecca Coakley from Ireland and another Korean, Hey Kyung Son. Davies round included five birdies an eagle and four bogeys.
But it was the 19-year-old Blomqvist who set the pace for the LET members in this unique Tri-sanctioned event with the KLPGA and Ladies Asian Golf Tour.
The Finn admitted to being nervous at the beginning of her round but after birdies at the second, fifth and eighth, she settled. Despite a three-putt bogey at the long par-4 ninth, rated the toughest hole on the course, Blomqvist turned in 2-under 34 and responded with birdies at the 10th and 11th.
A poor chip at the 12th cost her another bogey, but the teenager, who has carded 62 on two occasions last season, notched up further birdies at the 13th, 16th and 17th to challenge for her second LET title.
Im a little amazed actually, said Blomqvist, who became the only player, male or female to shoot 10-under-par 62 in a major championship with her record round at Sunningdale during the 2004 Weetabix Womens British Open.
I was a little bit nervous at first as I was hitting it to the right all the time but after hitting it close at the second hole, I felt calm.
My goal this year was to come out this season and try and win a lot of tournaments and play as well as I can. I wasnt thinking about another 62, just to concentrate on one hole at a time and be positive on the course and not think bad or stupid things. I tried to make birdie on every hole in my mind.
Monnet-Melocco had the most profitable day on the course, mainly thanks to her first ever hole-in-one in her career. The 26-year-old from Paris explains:
I had 139 metres (153 yards) to the flag and I hit a little 5-iron; I gripped down on it, punched it and watched the ball bounce about two metres from the flag. It was on line all the way but I didnt think it would be a hole-in-one.
Its my first hole-in-one ever and my caddie said to me Id won the car, but I said no, I think it was for Saturdays round only. I lost my concentration for the next four holes and missed the green each time but I got it back together eventually.
My husband and I already own a Renault Clio and winning this is brilliant because its exactly the car we want!
Brooky, three times a winner on the LET, admitted to playing her golf with a new found freedom this season after announcing she was going to stop thinking about whats happening in her swing and just go out and play and take each score as it comes.
Before this year, I had a 10-year plan, now Im into the 11th year and Ive never been worse than 43rd on the order of merit. Ill be happy to keep inside the top 20 for the rest of my career before I retire, said Brooky, who racked up just 26 putts during her round.
Im really happy with my opening day and apparently, I was quite entertaining out there according to my playing partners. I only hit nine greens and one of them said to me thanks very much for the entertainment!
Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix
KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.
The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.
Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.
Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.
Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.
Rahm (62) fires career low round
The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:
Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)
What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.
Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.
Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.
Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.
Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.
Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.
Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm
Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder
Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.
Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.
"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."
Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.
Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.
"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."
Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn
There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.
Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.
Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.
Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.
The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.