In Gee Chun of South Korea took advantage of early afternoon conditions during the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship on Thursday at Congressional Country Club to match a tournament record with an 8-under-par 64 at Bethesda, Md.
At the time of her 4-foot par putt on the ninth green to end her round, Chun was seven shots clear of the rest of the field.
A group of six tied for second place at 1 under in the morning wave that included defending champion Nelly Korda. Others shooting a 71 were Jennifer Kupcho, A Lim Kim of South Korea, Hannah Green of Australia, Nasa Hataoka of Japan and Brooke Henderson of Canada.
Green is the 2019 Women’s PGA Championship winner, while Henderson won in 2016.
Chun had a relatively modest start to her round at 1 under through five holes after starting on the back nine. She got on a roll starting at the par-4 15th hole with four consecutive birdies to make the turn at 5-under 31.
A three-time winner on the LPGA Tour and U.S. Women’s Open champion in 2015, Chun had her only stumble of the day on the par-4 10th hole with a bogey. She then fired four more birdies over the next six holes to take a commanding first-round lead.
Three others in the field were at even par after the morning wave, including Inbee Park of South Korea. The seven-time major winner finished on top of the Women’s PGA Championship in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
The purse for this week’s third major of the season doubled to $9 million, with 99 of the top 100 players on the LPGA Tour money list competing. The winner’s share also doubled to $1.35 million.
The purse was just $2.25 million in 2014, the year before the PGA of America began its collaboration with KPMG.
–Field Level Media