Day one of the real tournament! To ring in the occasion, I housed an Egg McMuffin and large coffee from McDonald’s for breakfast. The McMuffin was a little greasy (I know, right?!) but the coffee hit the spot.
I tried getting to the course a little earlier this morning to crank out the Vlog, and I did just that. The videos aren’t cooperating so well on the transfer to my phone/computer, so that will have to wait until the morning/afternoon tomorrow to be published. So stay tuned for that!
Any-who, upon arriving at the course, I checked out the leaderboard and where everyone of relevance was in their rounds. Then it was time to head out to the back-9 to document the holes for the vlog. I quickly noticed that the players were under “lift, clean and place” rules (hence this tee in the ground).
The first group coming up the tenth hole as I was doing my thing, included Stacy Lewis. She sunk a nice birdie putt to get her round started. After seeing a few groups play, I was amazed by the skill level. Of course it’s the highest level of Women’s golf, but the sheer shotmaking and skill these ladies have, is unbelievable. The main aspect that stood out to me is how deadly they are with a wedge in their hands. I’d love to see some sort of LPGA vs PGA event in the offseason where they play from separate tees (to even out the length factor). Even the shots that weren’t spectacular, were hardly off line at all. Very impressive stuff.
One very minor thing that was a tad annoying, and it isn’t a big deal at all, is the way the LPGA handles inside-the-ropes access. Again,this is nitpicking, because how cool is it that they let me go anywhere I want?! But the issue was the fact that they don’t specify on the media badge or have you add on some sort of bright sticker (as they do on the PGA Tour) to notify marshalls that you are, in fact, media, and not just some guy going through the ropes and causing a ruckus. The media badge we do have is hard to see from far away, and if its flipped backwards, could be a volunteer or spectator pass for all they know. This led to some humorous incidents of marshalls interrupting my videos to say “you can’t walk there!”
To their credit, once I showed my media badge, all was forgiven. Just a minor setback.
Once done the back-nine tour, I could feel my tummy grumbling, so into the media centre I went. Much to my delight, they had lunches for us today! Steak-and-cheese sandwiches! They were delightful.
While eating, myself and the other guys in the vicinity got into a pretty good chat about Detroit sports, the NHL, and how Toronto has received Mike Babcock (he was with Detroit before coming to Toronto). Interesting stuff. It’s always cool to get a different perspective on things.
After lunch, I checked the leaderboard and saw that co-leader and super-nice lady I spoke to yesterday, Moriya Jutanugarn, was about to come up the ninth hole (her 18th of the day). I got to the tee-box just in time to watch her stripe a Driver right down the pipe.
Up at the ninth green, the Volvik LPGA Championship has a really nice tribute to the troops. Stationed there is a Navy booth, as well as an active service member on hand to remove and replace the flag (which has been converted to an American Flag) once each group gets to the green. They also have a military tent behind the green for spectators.
Moriya, meanwhile, faced about a 25-foot breaking putt for birdie to take the lead outright.
She would miss, but remained tied for the lead at 6-under, with an opening round 66. The rest of her group performed admirably as well.
I was fortunate enough to speak with Moriya after her round.
She is so sweet and funny. The amount of times she jokes about her lack of height, is adorable. In the group behind Moriya was another young lady playing very well; Jessica Korda. Jessica finished the day at 5-under-par, and was kind enough to speak with me after her round, too.
Now it was time to go back to the media centre and attempt to upload my videos. Of course, the wifi wasn’t allowing me to do so, so I took another stroll around the course, crushed another smoothie (delicious, again) and spoke with some of the folks in the media centre, before calling it a day.
The leaderboard for day one is as follows:
T-1st at -6 — Amy Olson, Moriya Jutanugarn, Danielle Kang, and Caroline Masson
Seven players tied at 5-under (including Jessica Korda and Morgan Pressel)
One thing I haven’t done since arriving in Ann Arbor that I’ve really been looking forward to, is visiting “The Big House,” aka the University of Michigan Stadium. I was (naively) assuming that they would allow the public at least into the stands to see the field, but, alas, I was wrong. Still, such a gorgeous spot and a beautiful stadium, and standing there gave me a ping of regret for not even attempting to attend the University of Michigan. Check out this little slideshow of pictures from around the building.
Oh and one more thing. Directly across from the stadium is this gem of a golf course.
Really glad I got to see that. As I sit here typing this, I am determined to attend a Michigan football game this year. College towns are the best, and this is top-tier. I think it’s safe to say that if this event is back next year, I’ll be attending.
That’s all for today! Check back tomorrow for ze vlog and another action-packed round of the LPGA’s Volvik Championship.