29 Aug 2020 | Professional golf |

Kirk on a roll in Arkansas

by Martin Blake

Katherine Kirk Arkansas image
Katherine Kirk negotiates the ninth hole in Arkansas today. Photo: Getty

Katherine Kirk played nicely in Scotland last week and the Australian continued her strong form as the LPGA Tour resumed in Arkansas.

Kirk shot a brilliant opening 65 on the back of a new, red hot putter to sit tied-fourth, just one shot from the lead after the first round of the Arkansas Championship at Pinnacle Country Club.

Three consecutive birdies to start the day from the 10th to the 12th set up her day.

She ended up making six for the day and did not concede a single bogey. Afterward, she credited her new putter. "It's called the 'One and Done'," she said. "So it's actually one (putt) and kind of going to make it. It rolled awesome. Super happy with it."

Kirk, 38, finished just outside the top 20 at the AIG Women's Championship at Royal Troon last week.

The Queenslander is at six-under par, with Americans Jackie Stoelting and Esther Lee at seven-under along with Sweden's Anna Norqvist.

Australia's top-ranked female player Minjee Lee began with a two-under par 69 as did Sarah Kemp.

Meanwhile the LPGA Tour commissioner Mike Whan has refused to back down over Sophia Popov's status after widespread criticism - including from a cluster of professional players -over the weekend.

Popov, who won the women's Open Championship in Scotland, will receive an exemption to play on the tour until the end of 2021 rather than the usual five-year exemption for major winners. This is because she was not a member of the tour at the time.

"It’s the regulation we started the season with,” Whan said today. “It’s what we’ll finish the season with.”

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