MIDLAND, Mich. — Matilda Castren and Kelly Tan shot a 6-under 64 in alternate-shot play Wednesday to take the first-round lead in the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational, the LPGA Tour’s lone team event.
Castren, from Finland, and Tan, from Malaysia, birdied the final two holes and four of the last six at Midland Country Club.
“I felt like we jelled really well today, honestly,” Tan said. “She struck the ball so good. I had the chance to make the putt. And, I mean, I think vice versa. We both played pretty good today. There’s no complaints.”
Castren and Tan finished second last year, five shots behind Jennifer Kupcho and Lizette Salas. They had a bogey-free round Wednesday.
“I think she hit the ball really well today, too,” Castren said. “So that definitely gave me a lot of comfort. I knew she was going to hit it close.”
Celine Boutier and Yuka Saso were a stroke back at 65 with the teams of Celine Borge-Polly Mack and Paula Reto-Amelia Lewis.
“We’re happy,” Saso said. “I feel like we did have some really good saves, and I think any time you can be bogey-free, it’s a good day.”
Swedes Linnea Strom and Linnea Johansson were at 66 with the Chinese duo of Yu Liu and Ruixin Liu.
“We hit all fairways and I think that was a good highlight of the day, hitting all fairways,” Johansson said. “It’s not easy in alternate shots to do that. That takes a little bit of stress off your shoulders for both players.”
Lexi Thompson and Brooke Henderson struggled, shooting a 73 that left them tied for 46th. Thompson has gone four years since her last victory.
The teams will play better-ball Thursday, alternate shot Friday and better-ball Saturday, with the tournament ending a day earlier than usual to give players an extra day to get to France for the Evian Championship.