Alison Lee Has One-Shot Lead at Wilshire
Former UCLA Star Shoots 5-under at DIO Implant L.A. Open
April 21, 2022
Former UCLA Bruin star Alison Lee is the first-round leader in the 2022 DIO Implant LA Open at the Wilshire Country Club. Lee shot a bogey-free 5-under par 66 to take a one-shot lead over Nasa Hataoka of Japan, Emily Pedersen of Denmark, and former the University of Alabama star Emma Talley. 82 players are projected to make the cut at 2-over par after Friday's second round at the very popular stop on the LPGA Tour.
"I feel really comfortable, and I would say it's not so much the course but just being in LA, seeing a bunch of familiar faces out there," said Lee, who became familiar with the Hancock Park course while attending college. "Being here definitely reminds me of college days back in 2013-14 when we would come here and practice in the morning and all that stuff."
Lee, currently No. 65 in the Rolex Rankings, got rolling with consecutive birdies at Holes 6 and 7, and finished with three birdies on the back nine. She now has registered back-to-back 66's at Wilshire, duplicating her best score set in the final round last season. Lee rejuvenated her career last season and has since made 17 of her last 19 cuts. Her best finish this season was tying for eighth two weeks ago at the Chevron Championship in Mission Hills.
"It's been tough having to go back to Q-School a couple times, losing my card. Even at the beginning of last year not having full status, so actually had to Monday in this event last year," said Lee. "Coming full circle now and being here and being in contention for the event, honestly it feels great... just really grateful for everyone that supports me and I feel like that's really pushed me to practice hard, work hard, and try and get back."
Defending 2021 Champion Brooke Henderson has her work cut out for her after registering a rough 5-over par 76 on Thursday morning. The par-3 4th was especially brutal to Henderson as she five-putted for a six on the hole. Another favorite, No. 16 ranked Jennifer Kupcho had three bogeys, one double bogey, and 2 birdies on the back nine to shoot 4-over par 75.
Emily Talley, tied for second at -4, likes how the course suits her game: "It sets up really good for a fade, which is what I hit...
I've always liked this golf course. For some reason it sets up good for my eye. Like I said, I'm hitting the ball really well right now. And that goes a long way, especially when it's windy."
Nasa Hataoka like her result despite not feeling great at the practice range early in the morning: "I'm working on with my swing, so I'm not looking at my result. I'm trying to concentrate on each shot. So, I think that really helped a lot... working on two things. One is ball position. Trying not put it too much inside. Two, use more body turn on my swing."
Emily Peterson was satisfied with her first round: "I'm feeling good. I felt like some of the things I've been working on is going in the right direction and I holed some good putts out there to keep me at 4-under, so I'm happy with the day."
I think you need a bit of confidence going into this course. There is a few tight drives, a bit quirky shots into the greens where you really have to be on the right angle and just commit to the shots."
Following a late-night local shower on Thursday night may soften the greens for Friday and the weather will be ideal through the weekend. The temperature is expected to reach 85 degrees for Sunday's final round. With no tournament held in 2020 and no public spectators allowed last year due to COVID protocols, the players certainly appreciate the return of the crowds at Wilshire Country Club.