Linnea Johansson ranks 358th in the world, but the Swede’s opening 7-under 64 puts her atop the leaderboard early at the JM Eagle LA Championship. Johansson hit all 14 fairways, 15 greens and took 26 putts in her fifth round on tour this season. It marks the first time she’s broken par.
“I’ve been working a lot on my swing and trying to get a little bit more consistent ball flight, and I think that was very helpful today because I was able to attack a little bit more of the pins out there and give myself chances,” said Johansson of her bogey-free day. “The greens can be tricky, a lot going on, but I managed to read them and match the speed today, and they dropped for me.”
Johansson, 29, began her career at Nova Southeastern before transferring to Oklahoma State. After several seasons on the Epson Tour, she earned her LPGA card in 2020 and is still looking for her first career top-10 finish. Eight of the top-10 players in the world at in the field in Los Angeles.
“Obviously it’s been a little ride for me the past couple of years, struggling a little bit out here,” said Johansson. “The girls are good. It’s the best players in the world, so it should be tough, and so it is. It’s tough for everybody.
“But days when it clicks and when you really hit the shots that you want and manage to roll putts in, that’s the days you really enjoy it a little bit more, and it’s competitive out here, but starting off the tournament here like this, it’s great.”
Getting things started at the @JMEagleLAChamp pic.twitter.com/M3yVjiARto
— LPGA (@LPGA) April 27, 2023
Minjee Lee, a former champ at Wilshire Country Club, holds a share of second with Gemma Dryburgh.
Cristie Kerr opened with a 67. The 45-year-old is making her fourth start to the season this week, with her best finish, a 73rd, coming at the Lotte Championship.
Lilia Vu, last week’s winner at the Chevron Championship, shot 69.