Ace helps Boeljon share lead
EDMONTON—Dutch golfer Christel Boeljon stole the spotlight on the first day of the CN Canadian Women’s Open yesterday—firing a hole-in-one en route to a five-under day and a share of the lead.
Boeljon said she used a nine iron to drop the ball in from 126 yards away on the 16th to finish the day in a tie with Lydia Ko and Angela Stanford at 65.
“I thought [to myself], ‘I guess it’s in’ because we couldn’t see because of the sun.
“Everyone was high-fiving,” she added. “I go up to the hole and see it’s in.
It was the first ace on the LPGA tour for the 26-year-old from Alkmaar, Netherlands.
It was the crown jewel in a late charge by Boeljon that saw her birdie 15, ace 16, then birdie 17 in the sticky, dead-calm, late afternoon heat at the Royal Mayfair Golf Club.
“I’m lucky that I hit that shot into the hole,” she conceded.
“For me, it didn’t feel anything different,” she noted. “You just try to do your thing. Go through your routine again and try to play shot by shot.
“I’m just pleased with my game at the moment.”
Boeljon, in her third year on tour, is far from a household name.
She is 120th on the Rolex rankings and has yet to win a tournament. Her best finish was a tie for 15th at the Women’s Australian Open in February.
Her late-day magic overshadowed a hot start in the morning by Ko, the tournament’s defending champ.
The 16-year-old New Zealander came out with irons blazing—birdieing four of the first seven holes, followed up by two birdies and a bogey on the back nine.
Ko said that, ironically, when she birdied the 417-yard first hole, she figured she was in for a bad day.
“When I start off with a birdie, I haven’t really played that well,” she noted.
“So yeah, I was kind of nervous.”
Ko added she felt a bit of pressure coming in as the one to beat.
“Because you’re the defending champion, people are going to expect more,” she reasoned.
“[But] I called my dad a couple of days ago and he just said, ‘Relax. You can’t control everything.’
“‘Just play the game that you want to play.’”
Stanford, meanwhile, was steady from start to finish—hitting 13-of-18 greens in regulation while carding three birdies on the front nine and two on the back.
The 35-year-old from Fort Worth, Tex. is looking for her sixth LPGA win and has been playing her best golf of the season to date.
She ended up tied for 17th at the Women’s British Open earlier this month, and finished in the top five in the three events prior to it.
Americans Christie Kerr and Paula Creamer carded four-under 66s yesterday to tie for fourth.
World No. 1 Inbee Park overcame a disastrous start to finish three-under 67 and in a four-way tie for sixth.
There are 155 players vying for $2 million (U.S.) in prize money, with $300,000 going to the winner.
With Ko still classified as an amateur, she is not eligible for the prize money.
Should she win Sunday, the cash would go to the second-place finisher.