Women’s PGA Championship: In Gee Chun extends lead after record first round

Ranked 33rd in the world, the South Korean shot under 69 to move six shots clear at the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland, and accelerate her pursuit of a third career major.
New Zealand’s Lydia Ko and USA’s Jennifer Kupcho lead the chasing pack after earning 67 and 68 cardings respectively.

A sensational start on Thursday had seen Chun, 27, sink nine birdies en route to carding a 64-under eight that tied the lowest opening round in PGA Women’s Championship history and set a new record for the blue course of the Congress, remodeled in 2021.

Incredibly, Chun had held a seven-stroke lead on his return to the clubhouse, with his ferocious start catching the eyes of many across the golfing world – none more than two-time major winner Justin Thomas.

“I can’t stop looking at the standings. Leading by 7 at half day 1!!!!” Thomas tweeted.

Although the gap was reduced to five by her compatriot Hye-Jin Choi and Thailand’s Pornanong Phatlum at the end of the day, Chun’s advantage still secured the biggest major lead in the first round of the history of women’s golf.

Chun’s feat was made all the more impressive by the fact that many players had battled the effects of nighttime rain, with Choi and Phatlum being the only other players to shoot under 70.

Chun hits his first first-round tee shot on Thursday.

“I don’t know what course In Gee plays”

Defending champion Nelly Korda, after shooting 71, marveled at Chun’s effort.

“I don’t know what golf course In Gee is playing on,” Korda said Thursday.

“She has to play very well. I think when I played her today I would be very happy with the score I shot.

“I think at the start of the day you saw higher numbers. In Gee is playing really well, and cheers for her. Sometimes it just has to be your week, right? You’re going to keep on going. stick to your game plan and hopefully shoot some good numbers on Sunday.”

Champion of the US Women’s Open in 2015 and the Evian Championship a year later, victory at Bethesda would end Chun’s six-year wait for another major tournament.

New Zealand's Ko plays his second shot on the 12th hole in the second round.
A victory would also see her claim $1.35 million of a record $9 million PGA Women’s Championship purse, with the prize money doubling that of last year’s event. Minjee Lee’s victory at the US Open in June saw the Australian claim the highest payout in women’s golf history, earning $1.8m out of the total purse of $10m.

And after a strong second round saw the South Korean card five birdies to maintain a healthy lead, Chun is determined to stay focused in her pursuit of the title.

“I feel like after having a great first round, it’s now a more me versus me game,” she told reporters on Saturday.

Matt Fitzpatrick revels in

“I keep trying to focus well, and I just want to keep trying what I’ve been doing the last two days. I think that’s the key to winning this week. Just go with the flow, do what I can do.”


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