After the morning rain gave way to spectacular blue Scottish skies, Hinako Shibuno again proved her major prowess at the AIG Women’s Open. The 23-year-old Japanese superstar, who won the 2019 AIG Women’s Open, scored a 6-under 65 in the opening round of the 2022 championship, which is taking place at the famed Muirfield for the first time.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve played this well, especially putt,” said Shibuno, now an LPGA Tour rookie after spending three years on the JLPGA Tour. “Honestly, it was a little scary.”
Shibuno’s 65, tied for the second-lowest opening round in AIG Women’s Open history, featured three straight birdies to open the day. It was also a better shot than his first-round performance in 2019 at Woburn, a traditional park-style course. Facing the classic Muirfield layout this year, Shibuno was very proud of how she had adapted her game to meet the elements and unconventional play required on a links course.
“Two years ago, when we were playing at Royal Troon, the wind completely blew my shots away. I didn’t think how to use this to my advantage,” Shibuno said. “However, this tournament, I was able to adapt my style to the elements. I imagined my swing. If the wind was coming from the right, I could play by feeling how far off the pin I should aim.
American Jessica Korda is second in solo after a 5-under 66, just the second round in the 60s of her 11 AIG Women’s Open appearances. It’s also his lowest 18 holes since a second round of 65 at the 2021 DIO Implant LA Open. “There’s so much going on on the golf course with the crosswinds trying to figure out where you want to go land the ball,” said Korda, who played in a Muirfield hat and borrowed pants with her luggage stuck in Zurich. “It’s fine, at the end I looked at the standings but to be honest I was aware of what was going on. You have to stay on it here at all times.
Gaby Lopez and Louise Duncan, who finished tied for 10th as amateurs in 2021 and turned pro two weeks ago, are tied for third at -4, while five players – including major champions of 2022 In Gee Chun and Minjee Lee – are tied for fifth at -3. Lee continued his streak of major hits, now a combined 58 under since the 2021 Amundi Evian Championship, 22 strokes better than his closest competitor.
2021 AIG Women’s Open champion Anna Nordqvist opened her title defense with a 3 of 74 and is tied for 74th. Rolex World No. 1 Jin Young Ko shot a 5 of 76 and is tied for 103rd.