Pro Golf Weekly

Katherine Kirk On Top Early at Thornberry Creek LPGA

In the opening round of the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic, defending champion Katherine Kirk picked up where she left off last year: impressing the Green Bay golf fans with bundle of birdies en rout to a course-record-tying 10-under par and a one-shot lead.

Katherine Kirk Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic
Katherine Kirk lines up a putt on the second green during the first round of the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic at Thornberry Creek in Oneida, Wisconsin. Credit: Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Kirk kicked off her title defense with a sizzling first-nine 29, highlighted by a hat trick of birdies to start (Nos. 10-12) and four more gains to close (Nos. 15-18). The 36-year old Aussie cruised in to 3-under 33 to sign for a low-round 62.

“I mean, having shot 9-under last year, and I knew the conditions were going to be perfect in morning, the greens were perfect. I knew someone could probably go close though that,” said Kirk, who entered the Thornberry off five missed-cuts and a T61 in her last six starts.

“So I got off to a hot start. Yeah, just tried to keep the pedal down on the back nine.”

One back of Kirk was Sei Young Kim who finished with a bogey-free 63, highlighted by a string of seven birdies in an eight-hole stretch, including six-straight on Nos. 11-16.

“I’m always happy to be here,” said Kim, who finished solo-third last season at 20-under par.

“One of my favorite locations. So, yeah, when I got here great atmosphere and great food and great course.”

After matching bogey-free 64s, Canadian Brittany Marchand and American Megan Khang were T3, one clear of a 12-player logjam at T5, headlined by another Canadian in Brooke Henderson, who carded two late birdies on Nos. 15 and 16 to reach 7-under par 65.


TOP 10: ROUND ONE

1. Katherine Kirk -10
2. Sei Young Kim -9
3. Megan Khang -8
4. Brittany Marchand -8
5. Ayako Uehara -7
5. Carlota Ciganda -7
5. Pei-Yun Chien -7
5. Austin Ernst -7
5. Sandra Gal -7
5. Emma Talley -7
5. Brooke Henderson -7
5. Daniela Holmqvist -7


STATS: KATHERINE KIRK IN THE LEAD

Driving: 252.0 yards
Fairways: 14/14, 100%
Greens: 17/18, 94.4%
Par-3 Scoring: -2 (2 Birdies, 2 Pars)
Par-4 Scoring: -5 (5 Birdies, 5 Pars)
Par-5 Scoring: -3 (3 Birdies, 1 Par)
Aggregate Scoring: -10 (10 Birdies, 8 Pars)


EXIT QUESTION FOR KATHERINE KIRK

Katherine Kirk poses with the trophy after winning the 2017 Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic at Thornberry Creek at Oneida in Wisconsin. Credit: Kyodo News/Getty Images

Q: You said this course suits your eye. Can you explain that a little bit? Why does this suit your eye and your game?

KATHERINE KIRK: “Partly because it’s generous off the tee. I’ve never been a very straight driver of the golf ball. I don’t know. Just reminds me of some courses back in Kansas.

“Obviously, yeah, got some good shots in mind from last year. Yeah, it’s a pretty golf course. There are lots of easy targets to pick; greens are perfect.

“So, yeah, it’s a fun golf course to play.”

Jeff Smith

Jeff is a writer and content producer for Pro Golf Weekly. He is working on a book, documenting the 2017 and 2018 seasons on the major golf tours.

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