Madelene Sagstrom opens with 63 to lead Founders Cup

5/12/2022 9:29:01 PM EST

Madelene Sagstrom of Sweden fired a 9-under-par 63 to grab the first-round lead at the Cognizant Founders Cup on Thursday in Clifton, N.J.

Sagstrom birdied the first four holes, rolled in another three straight at Nos. 12-14 and finished the round with nine birdies and no bogeys at Upper Montclair Country Club. That was enough for a one-shot lead over Megan Khang.

Sagstrom, 29, has one LPGA Tour title to her name and is in the hunt for her best finish since she placed second at the 2021 Women's British Open.

"It was one of those days. Like, everything was easy," she said. "It's like I was hitting the fairways, hitting the greens, and I was making all the putts. The hole just kept growing.

"I told my caddie, Shane, I was like, 'You know, everything feels like tap-ins today.' ... You just (keep) trying to hold on to momentum and just keep it going."

Khang started her round on the back nine, picking up four birdies there and four birdies on the front.

"You definitely knew the scores were out there," Khang said. "But at the same time, like, you can't press for them. I mean, these greens are rolling so smoothly that you're trying just not to put yourself in a position where you have to be a little defensive."

Japan's Nasa Hataoka was third after a 7-under 65. Hataoka recorded an eagle at the par-5 second and added five birdies while staying bogey-free.

"I was 15 of 18 for the greens," Hataoka said, "so that contributed to just carrying that momentum into having more birdies with me.

Three players were tied for fourth after shooting 66: Bianca Pagdanganan of the Philippines, Giulia Molinaro of Italy and Amy Yang of South Korea.

Lexi Thompson was part of a seven-way tie for seventh at 5 under. She tallied six birdies on the front nine for a 6-under 30 going out before cooling off with two bogeys and a birdie on the back.

Sixteen-year-old amateur Anna Davis is in position to make the 36-hole cut after carding a 2-under 70 Thursday. Davis, who won last month's Augusta National Women's Amateur, also made the cut in her first LPGA Tour start last month at the Palos Verdes Championship.

Davis also made an eagle 3 at the second hole.

"It was pretty solid," Davis said. "It was the most straightforward eagle you could have. It was like fairway, hit a really good shot into the green to, like, 5 feet and then made it."

--Field Level Media

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