Women's Open: Shibuno leads from Korda as Scots star Duncan shines at Muirfield

John Skilbeck
Stats Perform
Jessica Korda made a strong start at the Women's Open
Jessica Korda made a strong start at the Women's Open

Jessica Korda might have been wearing the wrong trousers, but the American strode purposefully into contention on day one of the Women's Open as former winner Hinako Shibuno led the way at Muirfield.

Korda's suitcase failed to make it to Scotland, meaning she has been borrowing clothes all week, but the 29-year-old from Florida shot a five-under 66 to ease her stress.

She could call on her sponsor to kit her out with emergency supplies on Thursday, but it has been a frustrating few days.

"On Monday I wore Megan Khang's pants. Tuesday, I wore my sister's pants and Wednesday I wore Alison Lee's pants," Korda said, quoted on the tournament website.

Playing for a top prize of $1,095,000 (£900,000) this week, Korda sat one shot behind 23-year-old Japanese star Shibuno, who marked her maiden major three years ago at Woburn by landing the Women's Open title.

It has not been all plain sailing since for Shibuno, who missed the cut at Troon when defending the title in 2020 and finished only 34th last year at Carnoustie, but a round of 65 containing eight birdies and two dropped shots was a terrific start to this week's quest.

Scotland's Louise Duncan, who finished 10th as an amateur at Carnoustie, joined the paid ranks last month and a sparkling 67 put her in a tie of third with Mexican Gaby Lopez.

Korda's sister, world number three Nelly Korda, sat in a tie for 13th on one under through 18 holes, while last year's winner Anna Nordqvist had a round to forget, a three-over 74 leaving the Swede with a battle to make the cut.

World number one Ko Jin-young had an even worse day, with a five-over 76 following her recent miserable tie for 71st at the Scottish Open.

This is the first time Muirfield has staged a women's major, with members having only voted to allow women to join the club five years ago.

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