South Korea’s Hyo-Joo Kim fired a seven under par 65 in fine conditions at the Trump Turnberry Resort on Thursday to grab a one stroke lead on her debut in the Ricoh Women’s British Open.
With five birdies and an eagle on the Ailsa Course, the world number four equalled the lowest first round in the championship, previously recorded by four players: Candie Kung at Turnberry in 2002, Karen Stupples at Sunningdale in 2004, Juli Inkster at Sunningdale in 2008 and Meena Lee at Carnoustie in 2011.
The highlight of Kim’s round was her eagle on the par-5 14th where she hit her second shot to within 10 inches of the cup on the hole where Morgan Pressel recorded an albatross using a 5-wood from 197 yards earlier in the morning.
“The last couple weeks, I couldn’t swing very well. But today I kept it in the fairway very well, and the second shots, hit the greens,” said Kim, 20, who shot the lowest round in Major history, a 10 under 61, on route to winning her first Major at the 2014 Evian Championship. Kim turned pro in 2012 and has 13 wins in professional tournaments across the women’s tours, including two as an amateur.
New Zealand’s Lydia Ko and Cristie Kerr of the USA are tied on six under par, with South Koreans Kyu-Jung Baek and So Yeon Ryu a stroke further behind.
England’s Florentyna Parker, Norwegian Suzann Pettersen and Azahara Munoz from Spain are the leading Europeans on four under par 68, tied for sixth place with five other players.Parker, who is a member at last year’s Ricoh Women’s British Open venue Royal Birkdale, was delighted with her round, containing four birdies, an eagle and two bogeys.
She said: “It was brilliant. After yesterday and on Monday I played a practice round and I thought, this is going to be so tough. I was so intimidated by the course and I kept saying to my friend, if I shoot under 80 today, I’m going to be thrilled. And then I was starting off, I was like, doing okay and kept it going.”
The two-time Ladies European Tour winner continued: “This is the first course I had never played as an amateur, as well. I was warming up on the PlayStation a bit playing it a bit and that helped.
“We were lucky. The front nine was quite windy or there was a little breeze and then like the last few holes, it was absolutely nothing. I think we had a good draw and it’s a tough course. The bunkers, if you’re in them, it’s like a shot gone.”
Two time Major champion Pettersen, who finished second in last week’s Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open at nearby Dundonald Links, continued her solid play from the weekend.
The world number seven said: “I think on this course, if you can kind of get it through the 11th and then the wind is a little easier I think. And the finishing holes are a little bit easy the way the wind kind of came in today. I managed to finish strong. Hung in there on the front. Had a good start. Still, a couple of the par 5s, I didn’t birdie, which kind of feels like you have to do under conditions like today. I stayed patient. My game is in good shape, so excited to go out again tomorrow.”
In a group tied for 14th place on three under par 69 are Klara Spilkova from the Czech Republic, Denmark’s Nicole Broch Larsen, Beatriz Recari from Spain, Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist and current Ladies European Tour order of merit leader Gwladys Nocera from France.