Brittany Altomare rode a hot streak of seven consecutive birdies to take a share of the opening-round lead at the Lotte Championship. After calling in her caddie for a boost of confidence on the greens, Altomare birdied Nos. 1-7 (her back side at Kapolei) to card an 8-under 64, taking a share of the lead with Yuka Saso, a 19-year-old playing on a sponsor invitation.
“I try to stay one shot at a time,” said Altomare, “but towards the end I kind of realized, and then I chipped in on No. 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.”
Altomare’s seven-birdie streak ties the second-highest LPGA record for consecutive birdies, last done by Isi Gabsa at the 2019 Portland Classic. Amy Yang holds the record for most consecutive birdies with 10 in 2015.
“I gave myself some pretty good looks,” said Altomare. “I did make a couple long ones, but they weren’t super long. All inside 30 feet.”
Brittany Altomare walks up to the clubhouse with her caddie following the first round of the LPGA LOTTE Championship at Kapolei Golf Club on April 14, 2021 in Kapolei, Hawaii. (Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Saso turned professional in 2019 and has two wins on the Japan LPGA. The Lotte marks her sixth LPGA career appearance. She tied for 50th two weeks ago at the ANA Inspiration.
“My thoughts are just nothing really,” said Saso. “I feel like I want to rest and get ready for tomorrow.”
So Yeon Ryu and Ally Ewing carded 67s to take a share of third. Ryu said she struggled with her confidence in the ANA and Kia Classic. How did she spend the week off?
“First of all, because I was exhausted,” said Ryu, “I had to have good two days off. I definitely needed to have some good ice cream, good chocolate, good wine, so that’s what I had first two days.”
After that feel-good stretch, Ryu went to work on her physical training, shoring up strength for four tournaments in a row.
Then she went through a check-list of her game.
“Long game was good, she said. “Short game was decent, but just not enough confidence. Putting game was good, but not enough confidence. Everything was just missing by confidence.
“I really tried to build up my confidence level. I tried to watch a lot of YouTube to find a way to inspire by myself.”