Jodi Ewart Shadoff of England birdied the 18th hole to join So Yeon Ryu of South Korea atop the leaderboard Friday after the first round of the ShopRite LPGA Classic in Galloway, N.J.
Shadoff and Ryu both eagled the par-5 third hole en route to rounds of 6-under 65 at the Bay Course at Seaview Golf Club.
Eight players are tied one stroke behind Shadoff and Ryu at 5-under 66, including South Koreans Jin Young Ko and Inbee Park, the second- and third-ranked players in the world.
Ryu started on the back nine and caught fire late, going 5 under over her final six holes starting with the eagle on No. 3.
“To be honest, the eagle putt I think was a little bit too much speed, but I was able to hit it just center of the cup so I was able to make an eagle, and that one really picks me up,” Ryu said.
She followed that with birdies on her final three holes, Nos. 7-9, to jump up the leaderboard.
“I guess I was think about the swing a little bit too much, and I just only realize it just five holes to go,” Ryu said. “So I just told myself, ‘So Yeon, let’s just focus on how I’m playing instead of swing.’ I think that one really help me out.”
Shadoff made four birdies, an eagle and no bogeys to tie Ryu.
Park is one of the most accomplished women on the circuit, with a career Grand Slam, an Olympic gold medal and 21 LPGA Tour wins. She said she took a few weeks off from the tour in South Korea before returning Friday, when she sank birdie putts of roughly 25 feet on No. 12 and 30 feet on No. 14.
“This green particularly is very tricky and the speed is very big concern on this green, so only thing I try to do is get speed right, and whether it goes hole or not it’s just — I’m just going to leave it up to the destiny,” Park said.
Amy Olson, Canada’s Brooke Henderson, France’s Celine Boutier, South Africa’s Paula Reto, Finland’s Matilda Castren and Denmark’s Nanna Koerstz Madsen are also at 5 under. Another nine players are tied at 4-under 67, including 19-year-old U.S. Women’s Open champ Yuka Saso of the Philippines.
The tournament is a 54-hole event with no cut.