BETHESDA, MD (AP) – In Ji Chun She reached level 8 under 64 on Thursday and took the lead in the first round of the PGA Women’s Championship.
While most of the field struggled throughout the day on the wet blue congressional field, Chun hit seven of eight holes in one stretch. She was seven shots better than anyone else who started that morning, making her a threat to break the record for the biggest 18-hole lead in a women’s major set by Mickey Wrightwho led that tournament by five shots behind 18 in 1961.
“I don’t know what golf course In G plays on” – reigning champion Nelly Korda said after the end of round 71.
Chun played on the same pitch as everyone else, one that went through a full rebuild last year. It rained heavily in the area overnight, with even more rain falling during Thursday morning’s game. It softened the track, but also made the length of Congress—6,809 yards in that first round—more of a factor.
No big deal for Chun, a two-time major tournament winner.
“The track seems longer after heavy rain,” said the 27-year-old South Korean. “At the same time, the greens were softer. So I think it was just a balance.”
Even though there were still many golf games to go, Chun’s early lead of seven shots certainly got everyone’s attention.
“I can’t stop looking at the leaderboard” Justin Thomas tweeted. “Ahead of 7 halfway to the first day!!!!”
MORE FROM HER TERFENCE: Schedule, how to watch, course details for the 2022 KPMG PGA Women’s Championship
Hye-Jin Choi was 3 short after 11 holes in the afternoon, one of several players who threatened to cut Chun’s lead, but not by much.
Chun, who started from the back nine, hit #15, 16, 17 and 18. After scarecrow #1, she rebounded with three more birds in a row.
Chun set a major championship record – for men or women – when she won the 2016 Evian Championship at the age of 21. She also won the US Women’s Open last year.
Korda was part of the group under 1 year along with a playmate. Brooke Henderson. One example of how difficult the course was: Korda hit a driver, a hybrid, and a 7-wood while paring on the 587-yard ninth hole.
“This is the longest par 5 I have ever played,” she said. “I was happy to play even in the top nine.”
Chun hit all 14 fairways and said she spent time discussing non-golf related topics with the caddies. Dean Herden.
“We are talking about kiwi because I love eating kiwi on the course,” she said. “It is very difficult to find a good kiwi in the supermarket. Fortunately, there is a good Korean supermarket near us, so I bought a good golden kiwi from there.”
If Chun continues to play like this, it will be easy for her to relax on the field, but she will be chased by a talented group of contenders. Jennifer Cupchowhich won its first Major at the Chevron Championship earlier this year, was 1 short. Pornanong Fatium missed the second hole and was 2 under at eight.
All of these players could feel pretty close to the lead if it wasn’t for Chun.
“I feel like I played very well. The course is really difficult,” Kupcho said. “I really don’t know how much less than 8 years old In Gee is now. This is definitely an exception.”
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In Ji-chun quickly leads PGA Women’s KPMG Championship originally appeared on NBCSports.com