Chun’s – 8 under round ties first round scoring record
A record-tying score of 64 by In Gee Chun rocketed her to the top of the leaderboard at the 68th edition of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. Hosted at the Congressional Country Club for the very fist time, Chun’s round was nothing short of spectacular. Starting on the 10th tee in the morning round, she burst out of the starting gate with an early birdie on the 11th hole – a 539 yard, par 5. She followed that up with a string of 4-consecutive birdies on holes 15 thru to 18, shooting 31 (-5 under) for her first nine holes.
Had her round stopped there, Chun would have finished with the lead at -5 under. But it didn’t. That meant she had nine more holes to add to her lead and she took full advantage. Turning onto the front nine, she shook off a sloppy bogey on the 374 yard, Par 4, 1st hole, with 3-consecutive birdies on holes 2 thru 5, extending her score to -7 under. A birdie on the Par 3, 7th hole brought her score down to -8 under and 64 for the round.
By the end of the day, she would be the first round leader with a 5-shot lead over Hye Jin Choi and Thai veteran Pornanong Phatlum. It was an amazing day of golf by Chun and it couldn’t have come at a better time for her as she endured a couple of tough events recently at the Shoprite LPGA and the Meijer Classic.
“I think golf is all about the process. I had a couple of not good weeks, so I felt really bad after that. I’m trying to focus on the process, not the result. That helps a lot, I’m trying to enjoy more on the course, more with my caddie. I’m happy with the good round today.”
As for Chun, her entire game was firing on all cylinders. From the tee box, she was a perfect 100% hitting 14 of 14 Fairways. Even more impressive was her ability to hit greens and get the ball close to the hole, hitting a total of 15 our 18 Greens in Regulation – and her distance was dialed in with many of her approaches inside 20’ feet of the hole. Once she was on the green, Chun’s putting was equally impressive as she recorded only 25 putts for the round.
With Congressional playing at 6,809 yards today, it is one of the longest courses that the women will play all year, and as many on-air analysts would say, it is a “bomber’s paradise”. To put it into perspective, the PGA Tour is hosting the Traveler’s Championship this week at Cromwell, Connecticut with TPC Highland listed at 6,841 yards – a mere 32 yards longer.
With In Gee Chun in the middle of the field with her distance off the tee, it means that players like her do not have the opportunity to play approach shots with shorter, more lofted clubs. Instead, it means plenty of woods and hybrids for the women. With that in mind, carding a 64 (-8 under) is even more impressive for Chun. It was a testament to how well she was striking the ball with her 7-wood and 9-wood with some on-course reporters noting that she was making the wood behave like a wedge.
“I (came) here one month before, but when I’m playing, I got a feel the greens are going to be firm, so maybe I though 7 (wood) would help a lot to make spin. I’m working with Ping here. We talk a lot about the number and the spin. It works well on the course. I made a lot of birdies with the 7-wood and 9-wood as well.”
Her performance at Congressional – site of several U.S. Opens (1964, 1997, 2011) even drew the attention of the 2022 PGA Major Champion – Justin Thomas as he remarked on the 7-stroke lead that Chun had built up at one point during the tournament.
In Gee Chun tees off in the afternoon wave tomorrow at 1:39 p.m. playing alongside Ashleigh Buhai and Na Rin An.