June 23 (Reuters) – South Korea’s Chun In-gee tied the record for the lowest opening round at a Women’s PGA Championship on Thursday with an eight-under-par 64 that gave her a five-stroke lead in Bethesda, Maryland.
Chun, a two-time major winner, got off to a poor start with a bogey on the first hole but came firing back with nine birdies the rest of the way, her score setting a record for Congressional Country Club’s Blue Course.
Chun also tied the record for the biggest first-round lead in a women’s major. Fellow South Korean Choi Hye-jin and Thailand’s Pornanong Phatlum carded matching 69s.
The 27-year-old said she knew what to expect from the course.
“I played this course one month ago and I got a feeling that this course was going to play really hard and then the greens (were going to be) really firm,” she said in a televised interview. “So I changed a little bit of my club setting before I came here.”
Hannah Green, who won the event in 2019, was stunned by Chun’s round.
“I don’t know what golf course she’s playing,” said the Australian, who is tied for sixth after shooting 71.
“We were looking at the scores, and we were like, ‘Oh, wow, OK, five-under par.’ But still tough on the back nine and to hear that she’s eight, I’m like, ‘Wow, that’s impressive.'”
(Reporting by Amy Tennery in New York, Peter Rutherford)
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