MOBILE, Ala. – Azahara Munoz is making a habit of bold starts.
Munoz, a rookie Spaniard who won the NCAA Championship as an individual while at Arizona State in 2008, opened with a 7-under-par 65 Thursday to seize the early lead in the morning groups at the Bell Micro LPGA Classic at Magnolia Grove.
In her first tournament start as a pro in February, Munoz won the Madrid Masters on the Ladies European Tour. In her last LPGA start, the Tres Marias Championship in Mexico, she also opened with a 65, though she struggled afterward, ending in a tie for 27th.
Asked if she hit the tour believing she could win right away, Munoz said: “I don’t think of that. I played my first tournament as a professional, a European Tour event, and I won it. When I went to the tournament, everyone was, like, `What if you win?’ And I’m like, `There’s no chance I’m going to win.’
But I did. Actually, I don’t know if I’m ready to win. I don’t want to think about it.”
It’s early, but Munoz is third in the Rolex Rookie of the Year standings, trailing Amanda Blumenherst and Gwladys Nocera. She was asked if winning the award is a goal.
“I don’t really like setting goals,” Munoz said. “I guess being Rookie of the Year would be great. I’m just trying to have a good year and enjoy myself. We’ll see after that.”
Munoz remembers missing just one green Thursday, but she holed out from a bunker after doing so at the 11th hole.