18 Feb 2016
SooBin Kim during round one.
Canadian-based South Korean SooBin Kim has set the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open alight with a sensational opening 63 at The Grange in Adelaide.
Kim, 22, an LPGA Tour member who is ranked 256th in the world, had nine birdies and no blemishes in her dazzling start to the tournament, smashing the course record in the benign conditions.
Her lead is three shots over American Casey Grice at six-under, with almost half the field still on the course.
World No. 1 Lydia Ko carded a two-under opening 70 today, while Australia's top-ranked player Minjee Lee began with a 69 playing together before the best crowds the tournament has seen in years.
Admitting it was "one of those days'', Kim said her putter was hot; she had just 26 putts for the day and hit 16 of the 18 greens in regulation.
"I was just picking my line and rolling them in, let the ball do the rest,'' she said.
"My coach (Brian Jung) were joking around and saying 'let's make 20 birdies this week', and I said 'yeah, I like that idea, let's keep it rolling'.''
It was her first tournament round of the year after a long off-season, and her ranking did not get her into the field for the first two LPGA Tour events of the season. Needless to say, it is some kind of start to the new year. "I felt really confident, I spent a lot of time working on my swing and working on my putting, and spending time with your coach builds your confidence. I would say I was pretty ready for it, so (I'm) not surprised.''
She anticipates feeling some heat tomorrow as the tournament leader. "I would be lying if I said 'no', but I love the pressure, I love the challenge, so it'll be good.''
Kim grew up in British Columbia, Canada, before studying at the University of Washington on a golf scholarship, where she was one of the best college players in America. More recently she turned professional and finished 103rd on the LPGA Tour money list in her rookie season, 2015, with a best finish of tied-13th.
She obliterated the previous course record for women at the Grange's west course, a 66 by Australia's Nadina Taylor at an amateur event in September, 2000.