Golf can be hard to explain.
Less than a week ago, Katherine Kirk fired an 83 in the second round of the KPMG Women's PGA Championship. It was the worst round of her professional career. On Thursday at Thornberry Creek, she dazzled with a personal best and a course-record-tying 10-under, 62 to lead after day one.
"Golf is funny," said Kirk just minutes after arriving in the media center fresh off the great round. "When you've played it as long as I have professionally you realize some days will be good and some will be bad."
Kirk was phenomenal from the moment she hit her first tee shot of the day on hole ten. She made birdie on 10, 11 and 12 and then racked up four more birdies towards the end of the front nine to go out in 29. Kirk then closed with three more birdies on her inward nine.
"I know you can go low out there so stepping on the first tee today I just said, 'let's play aggressively and go make as many birdies as possible'," explained Kirk. "Thankful it worked out."
Kirk's statistics were obviously off the charts. She hit 14 of 14 fairways, attempted just 25 putts and hit 17 of 18 greens in regulation.
Sei Young Kim is in second place after a 9-under, 63 that included six birdies in a row on her back nine. Brittany Marchand and Megan Khang are tied for third at 8-under.
The conditions were scoring friendly on Thursday. There were 614 birdies made and the total scoring average was 69.58.
Emma Talley Was on 59 Watch
Emma Talley made an incredible nine birdies over a ten hole stretch between the second hole and the 11th. She was 8-under after 11 and firmly on 59 watch. The craziest part of it all was that she actually made bogey on hole one.
During the stretch of nine birdies in ten holes, she made six straight from holes six through 11, which matches her longest such streak achieved in the eighth grade. Talley cooled off quite a bit making six straight pars before a finishing bogey on 18. She totaled a 7-under, 65, the lowest round of her career on the LPGA.
"It was amazing, it was really fun," said Talley. "I was 8-under through 12 holes with a bogey on the 1st, so it was a great start. Thank goodness I had a good start. The last few holes were a little rough. But I'm looking forward to the rest of the week."
Talley said she briefly began to think about 59 after reeling off six straight birdies in the middle of her round.
"I was already counting in my head at one point, what do I have to do to shoot 59?," said Talley. "It kind of went downhill from there. I had never even played 13, 14, or 15 yet because it got rained out yesterday."
Maybe the strong play can be attributed to the visor you see above. It was the first time she sported that look in her career.
Megan Khang Likes Aggressive Nature Thornberry Demands
Megan Khang posted four rounds in the 60s last year at Thornberry Creek and finished just inside the top 10 so she understands that in order to truly contend, you have to go even deeper with the scores.
She turned in a bogey-free 64 on Thursday.
"I definitely knew that the course was gettable, low scores are going to be here," explained Khang. "Just last year I think the winning score was 22 under. Definitely with the amount of rain we got we knew that we could go after some pins and just kind of take advantage of that because you don't know how the weather is going to hold up for the rest of the week."
The 64 is tied for the lowest round of her career.
Khang is an aggressive player by nature so this course suits her perfectly.
"This is a course you can be aggressive with, and I personally like to play aggressive," said Khang, who has four top 10s this year. "I think this will be a good week."
It's certainly trending that way.
Maddie McCrary Poised for Career Best Finish
Maddie McCrary had a heart wrenching decision to make after finishing just outside of full status on the LPGA at Q-School in December. For those that were there, it'll be a lasting image. Right beside the 18th green, she was overcome with emotion knowing she had earned LPGA membership, but narrowly missed full status. She also had to decide whether to forego her final semester of eligibility at Oklahoma State. She ultimately decided to turn professional even with the limited status.
It has been a tough year for McCrary, who has bounced back-and-forth between the LPGA and the Symetra Tour. She has missed the cut in five of her six starts on the LPGA.
McCrary turned it around on Thursday at Thornberry Creek with a 5-under, 67.
"Last week I wasn't really swinging it too well," said McCrary. "I went home to Dallas, worked with my coach for a couple days and he helped with some swing tips and that's really helped this week. I have Matt on the bag, just a fun guy, so we're just taking it easy, staying patient this week. It was just a fun, relaxing round."
McCrary's coach is Rick Woodson, who she has worked with since she was five years old.
Her caddy this week is Matt Green, Jaye Marie Green's brother and full-time caddy. Coach and caddy have both made a big difference.
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