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LET’S MICHELE THOMSON TAKES FIRST-ROUND LEAD AT TGWSO

August 12, 2021

Leaderboard Round 1

1            Michele Thompson                   (SCO)   -7

2            Anne Van Dam                           (NED)   -5

2            Yuko Suko                                    (PHI)    -5

2            Jasmine Suwannapura             (THA)   -5

 

Scotland’s Michele Thomson tops the leader board with an opening 65 after an eagle at the second hole set her round alight. Setting the women’s professional course record, Thomson is bouncing back from a tough few months that saw her father have a heart attack while caddying for her in Finland – he has since recovered and was out on course watching her today.

 

Watched by her manager and former Open Champion, Paul Lawrie, an inspired Thomson said of her round: “I’m delighted with how I started. Obviously, it was a bit of a shaky start with a bogey at the first but seven birdies and eagle, can’t ask for much more.”

 

On manager Paul Lawrie coming to watch her: “It was nice to have his support, to have the support of a former Open Champion. It was really nice to have him here and have his support.  Hopefully, he can come back and I can shoot under par again!”

 

On having her father out on course watching her, “It’s great, and it’s not far from home, either, and he’s not allowed to do unnecessary travel and it’s nice to have him here.”

On whether she is now eying up winning the 2021 Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open –  “I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself.  Just want to play every hole as it comes and see what happens at the of the week.”

 

Three players sit two shots back on five under, Dutch star, Anne Van Dam, 2021 US Open winner, Yuka Saso from the Philippines and Thailand’s rising star, Jasmine Suwannapura

 

Suwannapura on playing well in Scotland, “I’m happy to be back here in Scotland. A lot of good memories here, and a couple people just like, “Oh, Jasmine always play well here.” I’m like, you know, I don’t want to expect anything. Just have fun here. Like I said we got lucky with no wind this morning and being able to score 5-under, it’s totally a good day for me.”

 

Full leaderboard here.

LET’S MICHELE THOMSON TAKES FIRST-ROUND LEAD AT TGWSO

The skies lightened up for the first day of the Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open, with the sun shining down on the homeland’s own Michele Thomson. Thomson walked away with the 18-hole lead after recording a 7-under 65, a season-best for her on the Ladies European Tour. The Aberdeen native regrouped after a bogey on the first hole to card an eagle on No. 2 and went on to birdie seven of her final 11 holes.

“Probably had a little bit of a nervous start I would say. Obviously being at The Scottish Open, it’s my fourth one now but obviously still got the nerves off the first tee and hit a bit of a ropey drive and just made bogey from there which was fine,” said Thomson. “Stood up on the second tee and just restarted, hit a great drive down the middle and had 240 and just thought, I’ve got adrenaline here, just going to go for it and hit it on, made eagle and from there it snowballed from there and hit a lot of good wedges into holes and drove well off the tee.

“The only shot really I missed all day was probably my drive at the first. Yeah, it was just one of those nice rounds.”

This is only her 12th appearance in an LPGA Tour event since 2017. Her career-best finish is a tie for 48th at the 2018 ISPS Handa Australian Open. She’s only made the cut once in four previous Women’s Scottish Open starts, finishing 70th last year. No Scot has ever won this tournament. As the 2008 Scottish Amateur champion competes with five other native players for the Jock MacVicar Leading Scot Trophy, Thomson said she’ll keep herself grounded at least through Friday.

“I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself,” said Thomson, who turned professional in 2009, and became a police officer for a few years before returning to the game. “Just want to play every hole as it comes and see what happens at the of the week.”

Two-time LPGA Tour winner Jasmine Suwannapura joins 2020 Tokyo Olympian Anne van Dam and major champion Yuka Saso in a tie for second at -5. Suwannapura, who returns to the links and Scotland for the first time since her runner-up performance at the 2020 AIG Women’s Open at Royal Troon, started strong with four-straight birdies. The Thai native rebounded from a bogey on No. 11 and a double bogey on the next hole to ultimately post her lowest 18-hole score since the second round of the Marathon LPGA Classic in July.

“I’m happy to be back here at Scotland. A lot of good memories here, and a couple people just like, ‘Oh, Jasmine always play well here.’ I’m like, you know, I don’t want to expect anything. Just have fun here,” said Suwannapura. “We got lucky with no wind this morning and being able to score 5-under, it’s totally a good day for me.”

Mi Jung Hur, who won the TGWSO in 2019 by six strokes, is one of 10 players tied for fifth at -4. Hur finished the day bogey-free, making four birdies on her front nine then parring the rest of the way.

“Here’s only one thing: Just keep [the ball] low,” said Hur. “If it’s helping, you can keep it low, too, but especially in the hurting, you have to keep it low for sure. No. 15, the par-5 15, I had 86 meters to the flag and my ball was way too high. It came back 20 meters short, which wasn’t that good. So, you have to keep it low.”

The 2020 Olympic bronze medalist Lydia Ko is T24 at -2, while defending champion Stacy Lewis sits in a tie for 35th heading into the second round. Stephanie Meadow and Tonje Daffinrud withdrew during the first round, both due to injury.

 

SCOT MICHELE THOMSON SOAKING UP SUPPORT IN NATIONAL OPEN

Ladies European Tour Member and No. 599 in the Rolex Rankings, Michele Thomson had the round of her life at the Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open. Starting in the fourth grouping of the day, Thomson recorded a LPGA Tour career-low 65 to sit with a two-stroke lead at -7 after the first round in Fife. The Scot, who hails from Aberdeen, took advantage of weaker winds in the morning at Dunbarnie Links on a style of course she’s played all her life.

“I’m delighted with how I started.  Obviously, it was a bit of a shaky start with a bogey at the first but seven birdies and eagle, can’t ask for much more,” said Thomson. “Growing up playing links golf and up at 7 a.m. with no wind, getting out – had to shoot a good score.”

A month ago, while competing in Finland at the Grant Ladies Open, her father, Graham, suffered a heart attack during the first round, while carrying her bag. Though Graham was jovial after the incident – even tweeting from the hospital, joking as he apologized for having to step off the bag – the 33-year-old said the moment put her game and career in perspective.

“I’ve had quite a tough time with dad in Finland obviously and just kind of haven’t been concentrating on my golf but that just shows me that golf’s just golf and just get on with it and whatever happens, that’s life,” said Thomson. Her dad is doing better, in recovery, and able to follow along outside the ropes as a spectator this week. Joining him in support was none other than her manager, Paul Lawrie, the 1999 Open champion and fellow Aberdeen native. Lawrie holds the men’s record at Dumbarnie, a 65, which Thomson discovered upon concluding.

“I didn’t realize he had it until I came in. Really nice,” said Thomson. “It was nice to have his support, to have The Open Champion, previous Open Champion obviously. But, really nice to have him here and have his support. Hopefully he can come back and I can shoot under par again.”

 

YUKA SASO LEARNING MORE “DAY-BY-DAY” IN SCOTLAND

Yuka Saso is in Scotland for the first time in her career, and her life. Her favorite part? Surprisingly, the weather. “It’s summer but we’re wearing jackets. I like it,” said the Filipino. Saso seems to be warming up to the Home of Golf in her Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open debut, posting a 5-under 67 to currently sit in a tie second with Anne van Dam and Jasmine Suwannapura.

Saso has only played links golf one other time – at the 2018 Women’s Amateur Championship at Hillside Golf Club in Southport, England, where she ultimately lost in the match-play round of 32. Despite a lack of experience at Dumbarnie Links, Saso is excited by the thrill of the challenge. “It’s different golf than what I’m used to,” she said. “You don’t really use driver, second shot around the tee. But it’s really fun and it’s a new experience for me. So I’m really enjoying it.”

The 2021 U.S. Women’s champion said she went to “legends” for advice in preparation for this week, including 1997 Open champion Justin Leonard and Women’s Scottish Open defending champion, Stacy Lewis. Saso said she played a practice round this week with Lewis, just as she did during the Marathon LPGA Classic, and the 13-time Tour winner passed along a bit of knowledge to the 20-year-old Tour rookie.

“In America we kind of have to go high and try to stop the ball but here, it’s like you have to be more — you have to have more like rolling low ball and trying to chase the hole. That’s the shots that I’m not really used to,” said Saso. “Watching her doing that, I practiced yesterday, this morning, trying to do those stuff, that helped. So yeah, I’m really thankful and hope to play with her more so I can learn from her.”

Saso said she’s gearing up for more aggressive weather in the coming days while continuing to work on keeping her ball-flight low. “I hope to putt like the last nine holes tomorrow and hit some good shots from the tee. I think it’s going to be very important,” said Saso. “I think I’ll just take it shot-by-shot and try to feel what I have to do, and you know, take it from there.”

 

LYDIA KO LOVING THE LINKS AT DUMBARNIE

One week ago, New Zealand’s Lydia Ko was standing amid a podium with Nelly Korda and Mone Inami, receiving the second Olympic medal of her career at Kasumigaseki Country Club. The bronze medal she earned, another relic to add to the always-growing collection of accomplishments the 24-year-old has amassed in her golfing career. Dedicating the win to her country and her grandmother, who unfortunately passed prior to the event, Ko gave possession of the bronze to her sister, Sura, to take back to the United States. The major champion went straight from Tokyo to the Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open, and started the first day of competition with a first-round 70 to sit in a tie for 24th.

“I actually hit the ball really good. My ball-striking was really good. I think I had like 35 or 34 putts. I didn’t really make anything that I could have. It was kind of a very stress-free 2-under and feel like I could have shot a lot lower considering it was so calm for the majority of our round,” said Ko. “Hopefully be able to keep the same good feels for the long game and I can hole a few more over the next few days.”

Ko is playing in her fourth Women’s Scottish Open, where she delivered her best finish back in 2020 (T12). She’s never recorded lower than a 67, but said she loves the opportunity to be back on the links, especially before the final major championship of the season next week.

“I love playing links golf. You have to hit some different types of shots and be very creative. It’s fun and I think this course is a really good lead-up to Carnoustie,” said Ko. “It’s actually very mature considering it’s only been open 18 months or so. Yeah, you would think it’s been around for a long time. I think the golf course is great. It’s a unique setup and I think especially when the wind is quite low, I think it can be gettable.

“So just have to play smart but I know it’s going to be pretty windy tomorrow. So, play smart and see what happens.”