PORTLAND — Perrine Delacour shot a 9-under 63 in morning rain Thursday at Columbia Edgewater to take the first-round lead in the Portland Classic.
Winless on the LPGA Tour, Delacour opened with a birdie and ran off five straight on Nos. 3-7 in a front-nine 30. The 29-year-old Frenchwoman added birdies on Nos. 14, 15 and 17 in the bogey-free round on the tree-lined layout.
“Well, the goal today was to be dry.” Delacour said. “We knew it was going to be wet, so my main goal was to try to get my club as dry as we can, which we did pretty good with my caddie.”
Gina Kim was second after a bogey-free 64, the 23-year-old former Duke player’s best score on the tour. Also winless, she has missed five cuts in a row.
“I’m really excited,” Kim said. “I think today was where I was able to see a lot of my hard work pay off. It’s been tough this whole season, and I kept grinding through it. I kept believing in myself that maybe, you know, one of these days I’m going to be able to catch a good round like this.”
Second-ranked Nelly Korda was at 65 with Linn Grant and Olivia Cowan.
“I just knew with the amount of rain we were getting throughout the day that I could just be a little bit more aggressive,” Korda said. “So, making sure that I was flying to the right numbers and taking dead aim at flags.”
Sidelined by lower-back pain in the spring, Korda is back in form with the Solheim Cup against Europe a few weeks away in Spain.
“I’m just really focusing on this week, and once I get to that week, I’ll focus on that week,” Korda said. “I’m just trying to take it one round at time, play some consistent golf and, hopefully, I can take that into Spain.”
Grant won the Dana Open in July in Ohio for her first LPGA Tour title.
“It’s soft out there, so if you kind of have your yardages in control there are going to be a lot of birdie opportunities,” Grant said. “I holed a few of them, and it was just a nice round.”
Defending champion Andrea Lee was at 66 with Megan Khang, Nanna Koerstz Madsen, Sarah Kemp and and Pavarisa Yoktuan.
“The course is definitely playing a lot different compared to prior years,” Lee said. “It was so wet out there.”
Khang won her first LPGA Tour title Sunday in Vancouver, B.C., at Shaughnessy, another tree-lined gem designed by Columbia Edgewater architect A.V. Macan.
“I remember in like junior golf we had a guest speaker at one of our tournaments, Tom Watson, and I remember him telling us you can either go out there and say like, ‘Oh, it’s raining, this stinks.’ Or you can go out there and say, ‘Hey, it’s raining for everyone. Just deal with it and make the best of the conditions.’ That’s the mentality I kind of take on now.”
She chipped for eagle on No. 7.
“It was pretty cool,” she said. “It had been a kind of slow start.”
Angela Stanford, at 45 years old, was in the group at 67.
“I love this golf course,” Stanford said.
Two-time champion Brooke Henderson bogeyed the last in a 69.
Top-ranked Lilia Vu opened with a 71. She tied for third last year.
Lexi Thompson bogeyed the final two holes in a 72. She’s outside the top 150 in the Race to CME Globe and is not likely to keep her full LPGA card for next year at this rate. Thompson has made only two cuts this year.