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Jennifer Kupcho didn’t need any help during Thursday's opening round of the Pelican Women’s Championship. After a mundane, even-par opening nine, she adjusted her alignment, birdied five of her next six holes and shot 5-under 65.
“I struggled a little bit on the front with missing a lot of shots to the right,” Kupcho said after her round. “I had known I was aiming out to the right early in the practice Monday through Wednesday, and kind of just told myself to aim a little bit further left, and was really able to start hitting shots a lot closer to the pin, and those putts are a lot easier to make.”
Kupcho is three shots behind leader Leona Maguire. Kupcho, from Wake Forest, and Maguire, from Duke, battled throughout their epic collegiate careers and have had a couple of head-to-heads this year.
Kupcho and Maguire tied in a round-robin match at this year’s Bank of Hope LPGA Match Play. Maguire then beat Kupcho, 5 and 4, in Solheim Cup singles.
Maguire, like Kupcho, is seeking her maiden LPGA title.
But on the course is not where Kupcho could use a little assistance. She announced at the Solheim Cup that she was engaged to Jay Monahan (not the PGA Tour commissioner). Though an official wedding date hasn’t been set, the planning plus a house purchase has added strain.
“Yeah, it's a lot. I mean, just trying to get some big furniture into the house, pretty much done that, but just trying to get all the decorations, make it feel like a home. It's stressful,” Kupcho said.
“As well as wedding planning is really stressful, trying to figure out if everyone can make it, where it's going to be.”
More play like this for three days and the first-place check of $262,500 will help ease a lot of that undue stress.