A pair of NCAA collegiate stars went low in Round 1 of the B.C. Amateur Women’s Golf Championships Monday.
Naomi Ko of Victoria, a 19-year-old sophomore with the North Carolina State Wolfpack, used a front-nine birdie binge to register a 4-under 69 for the lead at the sun-drenched Vernon Golf &Country Club.
Maddie Szeryk, a 20-year-old Texan with dual citizenship, was one stroke back in the field of 48.
Szeryk tied for 14th spot in the 2016 Canadian Women’s Amateur. In two seasons with Texas A&M Aggies, Szeryk has collected a dozen Top-10 finishes and was twice named to the First-Team All-SEC as well as being named SEC Freshman of the Year in 2014.
Ko, who plays out of the Royal Colwood Golf Club in Victoria, is a Claremont high school grad who competed for Canada in the 2016 World Amateur Championship in Mexico, finishing tied for sixth.
Ko recorded pars on the opening two holes before reeling off birdies on four of the next six holes. Her only bogey came on the par-4 seventh. She had nines of 33 and 36.
Szeryk bogeyed the first and 18th holes while posting nines of 35.
Michelle Kim of Surrey and Jacyln Lee of Calgary shared third place at 72, while Kat Kennedy of Okotoks, Alta. was alone in fifth at 74.
Vivian Lee of New Westminster and Jaya Rampuri of Coquitlam each carded 75 to sit sixth. Tiegan Taylor of Kelowna shot 76 for eighth place.
Michelle Waters of Qualicum Beach, Grace St-Germain of Ottawa and Shirin Anjarwalla of Nanaimo were tied at No. 9 with 78s, while Christina Proteau of Port Alberni and Mary Parsons of Delta were tied for 12th at 79. Parsons was runner-up last year to Stanford University’s Jisoo Keel of Coquitlam, who is not in the field this year.
Parsons, a self-admitted aggressive player, tested the first 12 holes before a short break in Monday’s practice round.
“It’s definitely a course that’s gettable, but you have to watch your tee shots and set yourself up for good shots going into the greens,” she said. “The greens are a little bit tricky on where you wanna be attacking from for where the pin is.”
Emery Bardock of Armstrong, who plays at Spallumcheen Golf &CC, fashioned an 82 for a share of 22nd spot with Rhiannon Jones of West Kelowna.
Jessica Claggett of West Kelowna produced a 74 for a four-way split of 24th.
Players resume stroke play today at 7:30 a.m. with the field being trimmed to the low 28 and ties after the round. The 72-hole tourney ends Friday.