3 things to know from Day 1 at the Chevron Championship

Nelly Korda sits in second place after Round 1 at Carlton Woods.

Getty Images

THE WOODLANDS, Texas — The first major championship of the LPGA season is officially underway. Here are three things to know from Round 1 of the Chevron Championship.

New venue, same stakes

The first major of the LPGA season is no longer played at Mission Hills — that honor now goes to the Club at Carlton Woods.

After a 50-year run in Palm Springs, the Chevron Championship moved this year to The Woodlands, just outside of Houston. And while there is no Poppie’s Pond or statue of Dinah Shore, the venue is plenty capable of challenging the world’s best.

On day 1 of its major-championship hosting duties, the Jack Nicklaus Signature Course surrendered just 36 under-par rounds, and no score lower than 67. The field scoring average was a little more than a stroke and a half over par (73.51) and three players failed to break 80.

The venue might be different, but the challenge has remained all the same.

Nelly Korda starts hot

Nelly Korda is looking for her second major title this week. Getty Images

Nelly Korda admitted earlier this week that she’s been fighting her swing this season, but you’d never know by watching her on Thursday. The world No. 2 posted a first-round 68 on the strength of seven birdies — including 4s on all of the par 5s.

“I took advantage of the par-5s today,” Korda said. “I think I birdied them all, so that was important, as I’m a bit of a longer hitter. Overall I played pretty well.”

Korda’s four-under round leaves her just one stroke off the lead through 18 holes at the year’s first major. Last season, the 24-year-old had two top-10 finishes in majors, although she missed the Chevron after surgery to treat a blood clot. She’d finished inside the top 5 at the Chevron the previous two years, including a playoff loss in 2020.

“It was nice to finish the way I did with just a tap-in birdie, but made a couple mistakes here and there,” she said. “But that’s a given at a major championship.”

Surprise leader

Peiyun Chien holds the lead at a major championship for the first time in her career. Getty Images

Carlton Woods showed its teeth on Thursday, but that didn’t faze Peiyun Chien. The 32-year-old fired low score of Round 1 with a five-under 67 to pace the field through 18 holes — and her game plan was simple.

“I focused on one shot at a time,” she said.

Even more remarkable than Chien’s start? The manner in which she got into the field. Heading into last week’s Lotte Championship, Chien was not even in this week’s field. But thanks to a T4 finish — her first made cut of the season — she gained entry into the major.

She’s making the most of the opportunity. Chien made just one bogey on Thursday — on her opening hole — against six birdies to claim the early lead. This is the first time Chien will sleep on the lead at a major championship as she looks for the biggest victory of her career.

Zephyr Melton

Golf.com Editor

Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for GOLF.com where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at GOLF, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with the Texas Golf Association, Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf. He can be reached at zephyr_melton@golf.com.