MOBILE, Ala. – Jiyai Shin arrived at the Bell Micro LPGA Classic holding something so many players are eager to take away from her.
Shin is making her first appearance in an LPGA event with the No. 1 ranking in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings.
Shin overtook retiring Lorena Ochoa 11 days ago at the top of the rankings.
With Ochoa gone, there’s a sense on tour that the toughest battle ever for No. 1 is imminent.
“It feels like we’re in between two eras,” said Suzann Pettersen, who ranks No. 4 in the world.
“We've been so used to having, first, Annika [Sorenstam] be so dominating, then Lorena [Ochoa]. Now it's just a bunch of us trying to fight and get the most out of each week. It's fun.'
Pettersen moved immediately in contention Thursday morning with a 4-under-par 68, three shots off the morning leader, Azahara Munoz.
Shin started with a solid 70.
“I always dreamed of being No. 1,' Shin said. 'It's a dream come true, but I can’t believe it’s actually happened.'
Ai Miyazato, No. 2 in the world and winner of three of the five LPGA events played this season, also opened with a 70.
“It’s an ultimate goal, but it’s not something I’m focusing on,” Miyazato said. “My goal is to be Player of the Year.”
Yani Tseng, No. 3 in the world, opened with a 73.