HENDERSON (-4) LEADS AFTER MEMORABLE FIRST DAY OF KPMG WOMEN’S PGA CHAMPIONSHIP
Brooke Henderson fired a 4-under 67 on Thursday, good for a 2-stroke lead over In-Kyung Kim and Christina Kim after the first round of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish, Washington. The No. 4 player in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, Henderson used a 7-iron to record her first hole-in-one on the LPGA Tour on the 152-yard 13th hole, her fourth hole of the day, after beginning play on Hole No. 10. With the ace, Henderson won a 2016 Kia K900, which she plans to donate to her older sister, Brittany, who is her caddy. Henderson, 18, is in search of her first career major championship victory this week at Sahalee.
INBEE’S IN … THE LPGA HALL OF FAME HAS ITS 25TH MEMBER
With the completion 18 holes in today’s opening round of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, Inbee Park became an active 10-year member of the LPGA, and thus, qualified as the 25th member of the LPGA Tour Hall of Fame, and 24th player to qualify. Park recorded an opening one-over 72 and is five shots behind the leader, Brooke Henderson. Park earned the required number of points (27) to qualify for the LPGA Tour Hall of Fame at the CME Group Tour Championship on November 19, 2015, when she was awarded the Vare Trophy for having the lowest scoring average (69.41) for the 2015 campaign.
ARIYA JUTANUGARN IS AGAIN IN THE HUNT
Having won each of the last three tournaments she has entered, Ariya Jutanugarn is in the hunt for a fourth straight title at Sahalee after firing a one-under 70 on Thursday. Jutanugarn is tied for fourth place, three shots behind Brooke Henderson. Jutanugarn suffered back-to-back bogeys on the 6th and 7th holes, but steadied herself from there with nine pars and a pair of birdies (holes No. 15 and 17). Jutanugarn has posted a sub-par score in 11 of 13 rounds dating to the opening round of the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic on May 5.
BERMINGHAM, RINKER POST 72 TO SHARE LEAD FOR CLUB PROFESSIONALS
Jennifer Bermingham of Long Beach, California and Laurie Rinker of Stuart, Florida, each posted a one-over par 72 in Thursday’s opening round. Each player took unique routes to sit atop a contingent of eight PGA and LPGA Teaching & Club Professionals in the Championship.
Rinker’s performance came as a pleasant surprise to her after taking time off from practice last week to her attend to her mother, Pam, who underwent recent surgery during a three-month battle with cancer. “I’m very satisfied by how I managed things today,” said Rinker, a PGA Life Member and LPGA member. “For the past seven days golf wasn’t my focus. It was nice to be out her and get away.”
“I hit it fairly well, and this is a course that plays so long. I wasn’t putting it in places like when I was 20.” Rinker had four bogeys and three birdies in leading the eight PGA and LPGA Club Professionals in the field.
Bermingham, a 28-year-old LPGA Teaching Professional playing in her first LPGA event, came within a stroke of the lead at 3-under-par through four holes before struggling home. Beginning play on the No. 10 hole, she birdied three of her first four holes, before bogeys at 14 and 15, and a double-bogey 7 at the par-5 second hole. She mixed in a birdie at No. 1 and a bogey at 5 on her way to closing out the round.
“Today was a dream-come-true day,” said Bermingham. “I’ve always dreamed of playing in an LPGA event or a major since I was a little kid. I was a little nervous in the beginning, but putts started falling and it was awesome.”