Canadian-based South Korean SooBin Kim has set the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open alight with a sensational opening 63 at The Grange Golf Club in Adelaide.
Kim, 22, playing in just her second season on the LPGA Tour, had nine birdies and no blemishes in her dazzling start to the tournament, smashing the course record set by Nadina Taylor in 2000 by 3 shots in what were perfect scoring conditions. Kim's best finish on the LPGA tour in her short career so far is a tie for 13th place at the Cambia Portland Classic in 2015.
Kim said her putter was red hot today admitting it was "one of those days'' She had just 26 putts for the day after hitting 16 of 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 Kim's first tournament round of the year after a long off-season as her LPGA status did not get her into the field for the first two events of the 2016 season. "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 nerves 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 2015 LPGA Tour money list in her rookie season, 2015, with a best finish of tied-13th at the Cambia Portland Classic.
She will take a 3 stroke lead into tomorrow's second round over American Casey Grice and Germany's Caroline Masson who both shot 6 under par rounds of 66.
Former world number 1 and five time champion Karrie Webb is a further shot back in 4th place after shooting a 5 under par 67 in the more tricky afternoon conditions, and is tied with a group of 5 players including former champion Catriona Matthew from Scotland,
World No. 1 Lydia Ko carded a two-under opening 70 today after a slow start, while Australia's top-ranked player Minjee Lee began with a 69 playing alongside Ko in front of the best crowds the tournament has seen in recent years. Also at 3 under par and tied for 11th place is 2015 RACV Ladies Masters Champion Su Oh, while fellow Victorian Stacey Keating was a further shot back at 2 under par after making birdies at 5 of her last 8 holes.
Play will resume at 7:10am tommorrow morning. After 36 holes there will be a cut to 70 players plus ties.
For first round scores http://alpg.com.au/tournament.php?id=4471&pid=1150&sec=lb
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