Pro Golf Weekly

Park Edges Ahead at KPMG Women’s PGA After Day One

Sung Hyun Park opened with a bogey-free 6-under par 66 and will take a one-shot lead into Friday’s second round of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.

Credit: Getty Images/Gregory Shamus

Park finished her first day at Kemper Lakes Golf Club with six birdies, highlighted by three gains in a four-hole stretch (Nos. 4, 6 and 7) to rocket up the leaderboard after just seven holes.

The South Korean star finished with two more birdies on her closing nine, and afterwards cited a new flatstick as well as some tweaks to her putting routine for a renewed sense of confidence.

“I felt like something little was missing, especially my putting, but this week I feel pretty comfortable and confident,” said Park, who won both the top rookie and top player awards in 2017.

“I changed my putter, and I made some change in the putting routine. I used to use the TaylorMade Spider and changed it to Black. It was 34 inches, and now it goes to 33.”

One back of Park at 5-under par was the foursome of Jessica Korda, Jaye Marie Green, Brooke Henderson, and Brittany Altomare, who each carded 67.

Korda’s 67 was her career best in 23 rounds at the KPMG, and just the second time she’s posted a round in the 60s.

“Oh, it was great. Finally a golf course that benefits the long hitters. The last couple weeks it’s definitely been a lot of 3-woods or even 4-irons off the tees, so this is really, really nice,” said Korda.

On the other end of the success spectrum at the KPMG is Henderson, who owns three top-5 finishes in each of her three appearances. The 20-year old Canadian overcame two-straight bogeys to start by finishing with seven birdies, including three-straight to close.

“My front nine was a little bit rough, but I was happy to get a lot of birdies on the back nine and get myself back into it,” said Henderson.

“It was a lot of fun. I just feel like I was hitting the ball great and making a lot of putts, so hopefully waking up early tomorrow morning and getting the next round started, it’ll carry on.”

Laetitia Beck, Charley Hull, Moriya Jutanugarn, and Maude-Aimee Leblanc were tied for sixth at 4 under.

Last week’s Walmart winner, Nasa Hataoka, was at 3-under par, alongside top-ranked stars Minjee Lee and So Yeon Ryu, among others.

An expectant Stacy Lewis leads a group at 2-under par 70, one clear of 14 players deadlocked at 1-under 71, headlined by reigning ANA Inspiration champion Pernilla Lindbergh and American star Michelle Wie.

One further back was world No. 3 Lexi Thompson, who aced the par-3 6th hole en route to an even-par 72. The 23-year old American was tied for 51st alongside world No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn.

Defending champion Danielle Kang carded a 1-over 73 and was seven shots off the pace at T71, as was world No. 1 Inbee Park and No. 8 I.K. Kim.


THE TOP 10

1. Sung Hyun Park -6
2. Jessica Korda -5
2. Jaye Marie Green -5
2. Brooke Henderson -5
2. Brittany Altomare -5
6. Laetitia Beck -4
6. Charley Hull -4
6. Moriya Jutanugarn -4
6. Maude-Aimee Leblanc -4
10. Minjee Lee -3
10. Alena Sharp -3
10. So Yeon Ryu -3
10. Nasa Hataoka -3
10. Amy Olson -3

NOTABLES

15. Stacy Lewis -2
15. Karrie Webb -2
32. Pernilla Lindberg -1
32. Brittany Lincicome -1
32. Michelle Wie -1
51. Ariya Jutanugarn E
51. Lexi Thompson E
51. Paul Creamer E
71. Inbee Park +1
71. Danielle Kang +1
71. I.K. Kim +1
86. Shanshan Feng +2
86. Lydia Ko +2
86. Nelly Korda +2
108. Cristie Kerr +3
132. Anna Nordqvist +5

WORLD TOP 10

1. Inbee Park (+1, T71)
2. Ariya Jutanugarn (E, T51)
3. Lexi Thompson (E, T51)
4. Shanshan Feng (+2, T71)
5. So Yeon Ryu (-3, T10)
6. Sung Hyun Park (-6, 1st)
7. Hi Jim Choi (Not Playing)
8. I.K. Kim (+1, T71)
9. Minjee Lee (-3, T10)
10. Moriya Jutanugarn (-4, T6)

REIGNING MAJOR CHAMPIONS

2017 KPMG PGA Championship: Danielle Kang (+1, T71)
2017 Ricoh British Open: I.K. Kim (+1, T71)
2017 Evian Championship: Anna Nordqvist (+5, T132)
2018 ANA Inspiration: Pernilla Lindberg (-1, T32)
2018 U.S. Open: Ariya Jutanugarn (E, T51)


STAT LEADERS

DRIVING DISTANCE
1. Maude-Aimee LeBlanc – 270 (T6)
2. Cydney Clanton – 263 (T108)
3. Brooke Henderson – 262 (T2)
31. Sung Hyun Park – 250 (1st)

FAIRWAYS HIT
1. Stacy Lewis – 14/14, 100% (T15)
1. Julieta Granada – 14/14, 100% (T71)
1. Hyo Joo Kim – 14/14, 100% (T15)
1. Angela Stanford – 14/14, 100% (T15)
1. Amy Olson – 14/14, 100% (T10)
1. Mo Martin – 14/14, 100% (T32)
53. Sung Hyun Park – 11/14, 78.5% (1st)

GREENS HIT
1. Seo Yeon Ryu – 16/18, 88.9% (T10)
1. Jacqui Concolino – 16/18, 88.9% (T15)
3. Eight Players Tied – 15/18, 83.3.%
12. Sung Hyun Park – 14/18, 77.8% (1st)

PUTTS PER GIR
1. Lee-Anne Pace – 11/8, 1.375 (T51)
1. Megan Khang – 14/10, 1.400 (T51)
3. Nicole Broch-Larsen – 7/5, 1.400 (T146)
39. Sung Hyun Park – 20/14, 1.71 (1st)


VIDEO: FIRST-ROUND HIGHLIGHTS


QUOTABLE

“As the score says, it went pretty well, and I really liked how it felt when I did that.”
– Sung Hyun Park

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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