Let’s start with the main story of the Chevron Championship: Nelly Korda. Looking for her fifth straight victory, Korda got off to a fairly pedestrian start in Texas, bogeying her opener and sitting at even par through her first 12 holes. She rediscovered her form quickly, though, making four birdies from there to post a Thursday 68, just two shots back of leader Lauren Coughlin and in clear position to take a run at history.

If Nelly doesn’t win, Lydia Ko is easily the best-case scenario for the LPGA Tour and the Chevron Championship. One win short of the LPGA Tour’s Hall of Fame criteria because of a playoff loss to Nelly Korda earlier this year, Ko shot 69 on Friday and is firmly in contention in Texas. Her overall story and rollercoaster of results over the last two years has been told again and again, but Ko sealing her Hall of Fame status with a major win would feel appropriately grand. 

Playing the Chevron for the fourth time in her career but first at Carlton Woods, Gabriella Ruffels showed well with a first-round 69. An LPGA Tour rookie, Ruffels is very used to major championships, having played in nine to this point in her career. After blitzing the Epson Tour in 2023 and starting strong this winter, it’s no surprise to see her making noise early on at the Chevron.

In Wednesday’s Club TFE Tour Guide, Meg included Atthaya Thitikul as one of her players to watch as the former No. 1 player in the world plays for the first time in 2024. She wasted no time, firing a 69 to sit just three shots off the pace. At just 21 years old, Thitikul has flashed in majors before, posting six top-10 finishes already. But she’s talented enough to do even more. If she’s fully healthy and can manage the pressure, she could very well improve on her T-4 last year’s Chevron.

The ESPN+ live stream definitely didn’t feature the elite imagery and full-scale production we saw last week at the Masters. Many cameras seemed shaky, with others placed at angles that didn’t exactly add much for viewers. Still, the increased coverage and ability to watch every shot from the featured groups was a significant improvement over past years of this event. Previously, fans were left waiting until the late afternoon for coverage to begin, leaving just a couple of hours of live golf. On Thursday, we had roughly 10 hours of featured group coverage and saw full rounds from many of the LPGA Tour’s most marketable players, including Nelly Korda and Rose Zhang. Carlton Woods is far from my cup of tea, but being able to watch full rounds from the world’s best is a luxury we weren’t previously afforded. Kudos to all involved.

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