GALLOWAY, N.J. – With all the success she's enjoyed over the past three years at the ShopRite LPGA Classic, Anna Nordqvist has received plenty of support from the crowds that come to Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club.
But the normally stoic Nordqvist broke into a big smile when she saw nine men standing in a sky box behind the 17th green wearing white T-shirts that spelled out her name.
"I didn't see" at first, she said. "I was so focused. I hit a good shot but the gust just came up so I was just focusing on where the ball landed. I was walking up to the hole and I saw them wearing the shirts.
"I don't think anyone has ever done anything like that for me, so I was very touched by it. It was great to make the birdie there, too. But I do have a lot of friends and supporters in this area and it meant a lot."
Nordqvist, one of three players sharing the first-round lead of 5-under-par 66, won this event in 2015 and 2016 and finished second last year, two strokes behind champion I.K. Kim.
Rough going in debut.
Pennsbury High School graduate and Penn State player Jackie Rogowicz shot an 83 in her first-ever round in an LPGA tournament but had some good moments in her up-and-down day.
She played 13 of her holes in 1-over, including her lone birdie at No. 7. It's just that she'd like to forget about her other five holes, consisting of four double bogeys and a triple bogey.
"I just didn't really hit it that well," said Rogowicz, who just completed her junior year with the Nittany Lions and qualified for this event. "My short game was pretty good all day. I probably didn't hit very many greens. Some of my drives got me in trouble, some of my approach shots.
"I did have a stretch of good holes there. With three holes to go, I told myself I wanted to make a birdie and I did, so that was fun."
She said it was "cool" to watch her playing partners – former U.S. Women's Open champion Brittany Lang and third-year player Annie Park – and "see how they went about things."
Two other local players are in the field. Brittany Benvenuto of Langhorne shot a 76 and Joanna Coe of Mays Landing carded a 77.
The professional debut of Leona and Lisa Maguire, who just completed their college careers at Duke, saw a large swing in scores. Two-time national player of the year Leona fired a 69 but Lisa tied for the highest round of the day, an 84.
A pair of aces