PILE-UP AT THE TOP
With no thunderstorms delaying play, round one of women's golf got underway at the Kasumigaseki Country Club on Wednesday. But the weather still didn't cooperate, as temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit caused shots to go long and overwhelmed players and caddies alike.
All three medalists from the Rio 2016 Games competed against 57 other golfers from 30 countries, including Americans Nelly Korda -- the Women's PGA Championship winner and current world No. 1 (and the tournament's first seed) -- as well as her sister, Jessica Korda; Lexi Thompson and world No. 5 Danielle Kang rounded out the U.S. contingent. South Korea's third-seeded Inbee Park looked to repeat her gold medal win in the women's tournament five years after Rio 2016, while silver medalist Lydia Ko of New Zealand was seeded 10th and bronze medalist Shanshan Feng of China seeded 16th.
Sweden's Madelene Sagstrom, seeded 30th, topped the round one leaderboard by going under-5 par at 66 strokes, while Nelly Korda and India's Aditi Ashok tied for second with under-4 par and 66 strokes a piece. Park trailed slightly with an under-2 par and 69 strokes, in a nine-way tie for seventh place.
The heat was absolutely brutal. Lexi Thompson's caddy, Jack Fulghum, sat out the last three holes due to heat sickness, and had to be replaced by LPGA director of player services Donna Wilkins. Meanwhile, the Philippines' Bianca Pagdanganan decided to keep cool by wrapping an ice pack around her head.
Temperatures have sizzled since the start of the Games. With rain expected Friday and Saturday -- the last two days of competition -- golfers may be battling the elements just as much as one another.