Women’s golf might have been making its return to the Olympics for the first time since 1900 but there was an all-too-familiar look to the leaderboard as Ariya Jutanugarn opened with a six-under 65 – she leads from seven-time Major winner Inbee Park and her Korean compatriot Sei Young Kim. LG columnist Charley Hull opened with a 68.

Jutanugarn, who opened her Major account when she picked up the Women’s British Open title at Woburn three weeks ago, could even afford a double bogey at the 4th hole. By the time she had reached the 9th tee she was four under the card and birdies at 14 and 16 gave her the lead.

Park missed her defence at Woburn and has been troubled by a thumb injury this term but her round was blemish free and included a hat-trick of birdies from the 10th.

The only player above Jutanugarn in the world rankings is Lydia Ko and she began with a two-under 69. Nothing much was happening for the New Zealander, three bogeys cancelling out three bogeys, but she then holed out for eagle from 135 yards at the 15th.

One better is Hull who took advantage of three of the par 5s in her three-under effort and her team-mate Catriona Matthew bounced back from a double at the 3rd to get round in level.

Charley Hull

Other notables going well were Spanish duo Carlota Ciganda (67) and Aza Munoz (68) while America’s best starter was Lexi Thompson who was also three under. Japan’s Haru Nomura should have also been round in 68 but she missed the ball attempting to tap in for par at the 11th.

Should Jutanugarn win it would be her fifth victory since May.



The best quotes from day one

Gallery from the opening round

Betting tips – who wins Olympic gold?



Mark Townsend

Been watching and playing golf since the early 80s and generally still stuck in this period. Huge fan of all things Robert Rock, less so white belts. Handicap of 8, fragile mind and short game

Handicap: 8

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