Brittany Lang is from McKinney, Texas, which used to be considered prairie country and is still hot, dry, and dusty in the summer months.
In fact, Thursday’s low 90s with a heat/humidity index of about 100 degrees that the Toledo area experienced is a routine July or August day in McKinney. Still, the conditions caught Lang’s attention as she carded an opening-round 68, 3-under, in the Marathon Classic.
“I do like the heat, but this is way too much sweating,” Lang said. “We don’t quite have humidity like this in Texas.”
After three birdies on the front nine at Highland Meadows to turn in 31, Lang had her only bogey at the par-4 11th hole while otherwise stringing together a bunch of pars.
“I got a little lazy early on the back nine,” Lang said. “I wasn’t focused enough and it might have been the heat. I’m hitting it great and rolling it pretty well on the greens.”
SMASHING DEBUT: Lexi Thompson had a good excuse for her trembling legs the first time she teed off in an LPGA event. She was 12.
“I’ve never had my leg shaking like that,” Thompson said of her first U.S. Women’s Open in 2007.
Now 18, her Marathon Classic debut went much smoother. The Coral Springs, Fla., native continued her solid season with a 5-under 66 opening round.
“It’s been kind of a struggle with me starting off with first-round even pars and being so far back, like six or seven back after the first day,” she said.
POWER SURGE: Local favorite Caroline Powers struck approach shots over the green on the first two holes, foretelling a shaky round that was a 3-over 74.
“I didn’t think I was that amped up,” said the former Bowling Green High School star. “Apparently I was.”
Powers, a 22-year-old professional who earned a berth in the field via sponsor exemption, carded zero birdies and three bogeys. Flanked by a gallery that included family members as well as friends she hasn’t seen since leaving in 2009 for Michigan State, Powers hit 11 of 18 greens and had 31 putts.
“I was just a little off,” said Powers, who once served as a volunteer for this event.
COLD FOR KO: Don't stand too close in the autograph line to Lydia Ko unless you wish to catch a cold.
Though she shot 2-under and is tied for 19th, the 16-year-old amateur sensation from New Zealand felt miserable after her round. Symptoms of a cold she caught this month intensified in recent days, leaving a weakened Ko to describe her conditions as “probably the worst I’ve played in my entire career.”
Ko will tee off today in the afternoon, which will afford her additional rest.
“I’m probably the only one that has a cold in this hot weather,” she said.
PRESSEL IMPROVING: Morgan Pressel, who is tied for 10th at 3-under, is in the midst of salvaging a season once gone awry. The 2009 Jamie Farr runner-up missed the cut in five of her first 10 events but has performed better of late.
She scored a couple of top-20 finishes in June — including tied for third at the LPGA Championship — and positioned herself Thursday to finish in the top 10 for a third time by collecting four birdies on the back nine.
“I’m hitting a lot of greens,” Pressel said. “I hit 14 today. If you hit 14 greens you’re going to hit some birdies, and that’s really what I was missing.”
PATIENCE PAYS: Jessica Shepley didn’t make the cut last week in an LPGA event in her native Canada.
Shepley, however, may have put herself in position to stay for the full four days of this weekend’s LPGA event. She is tied for second with Lexi Thompson.
“I didn’t play great last week,” Shepley said. “I’ve been working hard and working on my swing a lot. I’m trying to stay patient.”
PRO-AM: Teams headed by LPGA pros Haeji Kang and Lexi Thompson won the Fathead Celebrity Pro-Am on Wednesday.
Kang and her amateur partners — William Kielczwski, John Swigart, Andrew Berenzweig, and Scott Malaney — won low gross at 18-under-par 53. Thompson’s team won low net with a handicap-adjusted score of 49.07. Her partners included Tim Worms, Kevin Ries, Sheree Bargabos, and Doug Pontsler.
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