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Michelle Wie West still smiling after opening 81, Inbee Park cruises on tough day at Kia Classic

In a earlier life, Michelle Wie West would’ve headed over to the follow inexperienced after an opening 81 at the Kia Classic. Instead, she was headed to bathtub time with daughter Makenna.

As far as comebacks go, it was a tough day given the chilly and wet circumstances in Carlsbad, California. Wie West birdied the primary gap at Aviara Golf Club after which a slew of bogeys adopted.

“I hit a lot of great shots today,” stated Wie West, who final competed on the LPGA in June of 2019. “Just felt like I had a couple unlucky bounces here and there that could have made a big difference.

“At the same time, just couldn’t get my putter going.”

Hall of Famer Judy Rankin stated there have been many occasions after a spherical when Wie West talked about hitting plenty of good photographs and Rankin was left shaking her head. This time, nonetheless, it rang true.

“I’m going to tell you she hit a lot of good shots today,” stated Rankin, who raved about Wie West’s swing all through the published.

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Coupled with a superb angle, Rankin appeared fairly constructive about what the long run may maintain for Wie West, noting that it’s exhausting to recollect how one can rating after an extended break.

“I had a big smile on my face all day today,” stated Wie West, “because life is good. I’m out here playing again; I have a beautiful daughter.

“Life is great.”

While many of the day’s consideration was centered on Wie West’s return, there was one other participant making her 2021 debut who made all of it look somewhat easy. Hall of Famer Inbee Park carded a bogey-free 66 to high compatriot Hyo Joo Kim by a stroke.

Because the fairways weren’t overseeded at Aviara, officers opted to institute most well-liked lies for all 4 rounds as a consequence of poor course circumstances.

Kia Classic

Kia Classic

Inbee Park tees off the tenth gap in the course of the first spherical of the 2021 KIA Classic at the Aviara Golf Club on March 25, 2021 in Carlsbad, California. (Photo: Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

“I know it’s going to be, you know, test of some patience this week with the putting green and obviously being my first week out I am probably a little bit rusty,” stated Park, “so I’m just trying to get the tournament feeling going for next three days.

“If the results are good it’s great, but if not, I mean, I’m just warming up. It’s a good warmup for a first day.”

This marked Kim’s first event on the LPGA since November 2019. Kim, presently No. 8 on this planet, stated her transition again to the U.S. has been irritating and awkward at occasions as a result of she hadn’t communicated a lot in English for properly over a yr. She received twice whereas competing on the Korean LPGA in 2020.

“Actually before coming here during the pandemic,” stated Kim, “I didn’t really go out other than for workouts or practice, and so when I started packing to finally come to the U.S. my mom was a little bit flustered and asked me, ‘Where are you going?’ I told her, LPGA, most of the tournaments are overseas, so I should go now.

“So I packed my bags and I’m here, and happy to be here.”

Sophia Popov, In Gee Chun, Stephanie Meadow and Mel Reid maintain a share of third at 4 below.

“I haven’t seen the sun in a while,” stated Popov, who had two of her 5 school wins are available San Diego. “It was kind of brutal. The back nine was pretty rainy and windy; the front nine was kind of a roller coaster back and forth, birdie, bogey, birdie, bogey.”

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