After morning rain gave way to spectacularly 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, carded a 6-under 65 in the opening round of the 2022 championship, being held for the first time at the famed Muirfield.
“It has been a long time since I’ve played this well, especially putting,” said Shibuno, now a rookie on the LPGA Tour after spending three years on the JLPGA Tour. “Honestly it was a little frightening.”
Shibuno’s 65, tied for the second-lowest opening round in AIG Women’s Open history, featured three consecutive birdies to open the day. It was also one shot better than her first-round performance in 2019 at Woburn, a traditional parkland-style course. Faced with this year’s classic Muirfield layout, Shibuno was very proud of how she 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 over took my shots. I wasn’t thinking about how to use this to my advantage,” said Shibuno. “However, this tournament I could 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 from the pin I needed to aim for.”
American Jessica Korda holds solo second after a 5-under 66, just the second round in the 60s of her 11 AIG Women’s Open appearances. It is also her lowest 18 holes since a second-round 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 land the ball,” said Korda, who played wearing a Muirfield hat and borrowed pants with her luggage stuck in Zurich. “It’s nice, at the end I looked at the leaderboard but to be honest I was zoned in to what was going on. You have to stay on it here at all times.”
Gaby Lopez and Louise Duncan, who tied for 10th as an amateur in 2021 and turned professional two weeks ago, sit tied for third at -4, while five players – including 2022 major champions In Gee Chun and Minjee Lee – are tied for fifth at -3. Lee continued her streak of major success, now a combined 58-under par since the 2021 Amundi Evian Championship, 22 strokes better than her nearest competitor.
2021 AIG Women’s Open champion Anna Nordqvist opened her title defense with a 3-over 74 and is tied for 74th. Rolex Rankings World No. 1 Jin Young Ko shot a 5-over 76 and is tied for 103rd.