PITTSFORD — Forgive Jessica Korda if she’s got a low opinion of the weather in Western New York.
All she’s known is its ugliness.
A few weeks ago, Korda attended a news conference at Locust Hill Country Club for this week’s Wegmans LPGA Championship. It snowed that day.
The weather Thursday forced the postponement of the first round. It was moderately better Friday in that the round could be played, but nothing that the Rochester tourism bureau will include in its brochures.
Despite the dreary, cold conditions, Korda fired a solid opening round of 2-under 70, putting her in a tie for fifth place.
“I think I’m just having a lot of fun out here and being relaxed is definitely helping,” she said. “The more I have fun, the better I play.”
Korda, a 20-year-old from Bradenton, Fla., is in her second year on tour. Her parents are both former professional tennis players, Petr Korda (the 1998 Australian Open champion) and Regina Raichrtova.
Last year, Jessica Korda became the fourth-youngest winner of a 72-hole LPGA Tour event when she won the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open a couple of weeks before her 19th birthday. She’s currently 12th on the tour’s money list this season with more than $325,000 in 10 starts, including two top-10 finishes.
She was so focused on her round Friday she didn’t even notice the presence of U.S. Solheim Cup captain Meg Mallon on the course.
“She was out there today?” Korda asked after her round, which she played with world No. 1 Inbee Park and fan favorite Paula Creamer. “We had a lot of people walking with us. I didn’t really look outside the ropes.”
Korda currently sits seventh in Solheim Cup points, with the top eight automatically qualifying for the U.S. team, which will play against Europe in August at the Colorado Golf Club.
“Before Thursday starts I’m thinking about Solheim and on Sunday I’m looking at points to see if I’ve moved up,” she said. “If we think about winning tournaments, the points will take care of themselves.”
Korda’s round included five birdies and three bogeys. She closed strong with birdies at Nos. 16 and 17.
“It’s playing really tough,” she said. “Not that it wasn’t playing tough at the beginning of the week, but I think with the added inches of rain, the rough is playing really mean.”
Park was at 2-under on the 18th tee, but took double bogey after driving it into the left rough. After chipping out and having 100 yards left to the hole, she took too much club and flew the green. She chipped on and two-putted for a round of even-par 70 that left her in a tie for 16th place.
Players were allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls in the first round after 2½ inches of rain fell on the course Thursday, pushing the total rainfall to more than five inches in nine days.
That left casual water in various places across the course, but play was not delayed, with groups going off the first and 10th holes at 7:15 a.m.
“We are extremely impressed with the work of Rick Slattery and his crew,” said Sue Witters, the LPGA’s vice president of tour rules and competitions. “Given the amount of rain we received yesterday, we thought we might be hard pressed to start at 7:15 a.m. today. We were able to start on time because of the hard work of the folks at Locust Hill.”
Former world No. 1 Yani Tseng, the 2011 champion here, recorded a hole-in-one on the 140-yard par-3 15th hole, using an 8-iron.
The ace was the 16th in Rochester LPGA tournament history and third in three years. Jodi Ewart also made a hole-in-one on No. 15 last year in the third round, while Sarah Kemp aced the fifth hole in 2011 in the final round.
Pittsford resident Danah Bordner opened with a 73, putting her in a tie for 24th place at 1 over par.
Bordner, and her husband, Steve, moved to the Rochester area last November when he took a job as the head professional at nearby Irondequoit Country Club.
Danah Bordner has played in five events this season, making three cuts.
The final field consisted of 147 players. Maude-Aimee Leblanc and DeDe Cusimano withdrew, and first alternate Victoria Tanco was not present, so she was disqualified.