23 Jun 2023 | Professional golf |

Women's PGA: Kim's bold start at Baltusrol

by Martin Blake

Grace Kim WPGA image
Grace Kim drives during her opening 70 today. Photo: Getty

Sydney’s Grace Kim has continued her breakout season with a strong opening round at the season’s second major, the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Baltusrol in New Jersey.

Kim is tied-12th after round one having shot a steady, 1-under par 70 on the opening day on the Lower course at storied Baltusrol in Springfield, New Jersey.

The 22-year-old rolled in three birdies and had two bogeys to sit just three shots off the lead held at 5-under by South Africa's Lee-Anne Pace.

Kim, who plays out of Avondale Golf Club, is a member of the Golf Australia rookie squad and in her first season on the LPGA Tour has already logged a win at the Lotte Championship in Hawaii in April.

She has risen from the world No. 181 at the end of last year to a ranking of No. 82.

This is just her third start in a major after the US Open last year and this season’s Chevron Championship, where she missed the cut.

World No. 5 Minjee Lee was the best of the other Australians today, opening with a 1-over 72 in conditions that proved difficult for all the players.

Just 16 of the 156 players broke par at Baltusrol, one of the most famous courses in the United States.

Lee made three birdies and had a good round going until she took double bogey six at the par-4 17th hole. She is still seeking her first win of 2023 after a remarkable 2022 season.

Gabriela Ruffels opened with a 73, Karis Davidson a 74, Hannah Green and Steph Kyriacou posted 75s, Sarah Kemp a 78 and Su Oh began with 82. MEANWHILE in Connecticut, Adam Scott played one of the rounds of his life on day one of the Travelers Championship on the PGA Tour, making an incredible 11 birdies and an opening 62.

The 42-year-old Australian, who was disappointed with a rare missed cut at the US Open last week, rolled in a long birdie putt at the last hole for an 8-under first round that also included a double bogey at the 17th. He was threatening to break 60 when he stood on the fairway at the par-4 17th hole with a 140-metre shot over water to the flag, cut on the front of the green. But his short iron shot came up short in the penalty area and he walked away with a six. “I don’t really have the answer for you,” he said of the moment. “I can only speculate.

"The wind was just moving around a little bit the last few holes between kind of east and northeast and north and no wind, and felt like there was none really when I was hitting.

“But it came up well short, so maybe got caught in something, because the next shot the same club went 15 yards further. So, yeah, I really don’t know. It’s a shame, but it’s hard to be disappointed with 62.”

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