Kildeer - Park Sung-hyun blasted her way up the leaderboard
at the Women's PGA Championship on Thursday, using precision drives to fire a
bogey-free 66 for a one-shot lead over four others.
The sweet-swinging 2017 US Women's Open champ got off to a
roaring start in the opening round by rolling in a half dozen birdies for a
slim lead over Brooke Henderson, Jaye Marie Green, Jessica Korda and Brittany
Altomare, who all shot five-under 67s.
"As the score says, it went pretty well, and I really
liked how it felt when I did that," Park said.
"The course was pretty wet today, but I felt
comfortable, and I know that it's going to be hotter and difficult as the round
"Of course it's a major tournament and I'm getting more
nervous, but I'm doing my best."
At 68 are Charley Hull, Laetitia Beck, Moriya Jutanugarn, of
Thailand, and Canada's Maude-Aimee Leblanc.
Canada's Alena Sharp, Amy Olson, Lee Min-jee, two-time major
winner Ryu So-yeon, and 19-year-old Nasa Hataoka, who won last week, are three
shots back of Park.
Of the 14 players who broke 70, only Park, Henderson and Ryu
have won a major championship.
Park is taking advantage of this week's long layout and
riding the wave of a hot putter.
"I felt like something was missing, especially my
putting. But this week I feel pretty comfortable and confident," she said.
"I changed my putter, and I made some changes in the putting
Henderson, 20, is one of three Canadians in the top ten. She
won her sixth LPGA title at the Lotte Championship in April.
Henderson, the 2016 champion of this event, birdied seven of
her final 10 holes at the Kemper Lakes Golf Club course.
"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,"
"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."
Korda said she likes the layout after complaining that the
Tour courses they have been playing on lately have been too short.
"Finally a golf course that benefits the long
hitters," said Korda. "The last couple weeks it's definitely been a
lot of three-woods or even four-irons off the tees. I could finally hit drivers."