U.S. veteran Brittany Altomare and Philippine teen Yuka Saso share the lead after the first round of the LPGA's Lotte Championship in Kapolei, Hawaii, on Wednesday.
Saso and Altomare each shot 8-under-par 64 at Kapolei Golf Club to sit one stroke ahead of South Korea's So Yeon Ryu and the U.S. pair of Nelly Korda and Ally Ewing.
Stacy Lewis of the United States has sole possession of sixth place at 6 under. Amateur Rose Zhang is tied for seventh with fellow U.S. player Jessica Korda as well as South Korea's Sei Young Kim and Mi Hyang Lee, New Zealand's Lydia Ko, Northern Ireland's Stephanie Meadow and Taiwan's Wei-Ling Hsu.
Altomare, a 30-year-old Massachusetts native, is still seeking her first career LPGA victory after 12 top-10 finishes. She has yet to finish in the top 20 of an event this year after landing in the top 10 twice late last year.
On Wednesday, she was 1 under par after playing the back nine before she produced a stunning stretch to start the front nine, carding seven consecutive birdies.
Altomare said of the birdie streak, "Towards the end I kind of realized, and then I chipped in on 7 and just started laughing. I'm just like, 'Just one of those days,' which was fun. Hasn't happened in a while, so I was excited. ...
"I gave myself some pretty good looks. I did make a couple long (putts), but they weren't super long. All inside 30 feet. But still, they were pretty cool."
Saso, 19, became the first Philippine woman to win an individual gold medal at the Asian Games when she accomplished the feat in 2018. She plays primarily on the LPGA of Japan Tour, but she tied for 13th at last year's U.S. Women's Open and tied for 50th at the first U.S. major of 2021, the ANA Inspiration.
Saso's bogey-free round, which also began on the back nine, concluded with four consecutive birdies.
"I made some good putts, had good up and downs, my driving was very consistent today," Saso said. "I think, yeah, that made me lucky."
She is playing in the event, and on her first visit to Hawaii, thanks to a sponsors' exemption.
"It's really a good opportunity for me to learn and also learn from other golfers that here, so ... I'm really thankful," she said.
--Field Level Media