In Gee Chun seizes early lead at Ladies’s PGA Championship with 8-under 64

BETHESDA, Md. -In Gee Chun breezed to an 8-under 64 on Thursday to leap out to an enormous early lead within the first spherical of the Ladies’s PGA Championship.

Whereas many of the discipline slogged by means of the day on the moist Blue Course at Congressional, Chun birdied seven of eight holes throughout one stretch. She was 7 photographs higher than anybody else who began within the morning, making her a risk to interrupt the file for the biggest 18-hole lead in a ladies’s major-set by Mickey Wright, who led this match by 5 photographs after 18 in 1961.

“I do not know what golf course In Gee is enjoying,” defending champion Nelly Korda mentioned after ending her spherical of 71.

Chun was enjoying the identical course as everybody else, one which went by means of a full restoration final yr. There was heavy rain within the space in a single day and extra precipitation throughout play Thursday morning. That softened the course but additionally made Congressional’s size – 6,809 yards for this primary spherical – extra of an element.

No massive deal for Chun, a two-time main winner.

“The course, after a whole lot of rain, feels longer,” the 27-year-old from South Korea mentioned. “On the similar time, greens had been softer. So I feel it was only a steadiness.”

Though there was loads of golf left to play, Chun’s early 7-shot lead actually turned heads.

“I am unable to cease staring on the leaderboard,” Justin Thomas tweeted. “Main by 7 midway through day 1 !!!!”

Hye-Jin Choi was 3 below by means of 11 holes within the afternoon, certainly one of a number of gamers who threatened to shrink Chun’s lead-but not by a lot.

Chun, who began on the again 9, birdied Nos. 15, 16, 17 and 18. After a bogey on No. 1, she rebounded with three extra birdies in a row.

Chun set a significant championship file – males or ladies – when she gained the Evian Championship in 2016 at 21 below. She additionally gained the US Ladies’s Open the earlier yr.

Korda was a part of a gaggle at 1 below, together with enjoying associate Brooke Henderson. One instance of how difficult the course was: Korda hit driver, hybrid and 7-wood whereas making par on the 587-yard ninth gap.

“That is the longest par 5 I’ve ever performed,” she mentioned. “I used to be completely satisfied to play the entrance 9 even.”

Chun hit all 14 fairways and mentioned she handed the time by discussing non-golf subjects with caddy Dean Herden.

“We discuss concerning the kiwis as a result of I like to eat kiwis on the course,” she mentioned. “It is actually robust to discover a good kiwi from the grocery store. Fortunately, we’ve an excellent Korean grocery store close to right here, so I received an excellent gold kiwi from there.”

If Chun retains enjoying like this, she would possibly discover it straightforward to loosen up on the course, however she’ll have a gifted group of challengers chasing her. Jennifer Kupcho, who gained her first main on the Chevron Championship earlier this yr, was 1 below. Pornanong Phatlum aced the second gap and was 2 below by means of eight.

All these gamers may really feel fairly near the lead – if not for Chun.

“I really feel like I performed very well. The course is actually laborious,” Kupcho mentioned. “I do not actually understand how In Gee is 8 below proper now. That is positively an outlier.”

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