KAUFMAN STARTS QUICK OUT OF THE GATE
Competing in LPGA Q-Series presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina for the second straight year, Kim Kaufman (Clark, South Dakota) came sprinting out of the gate in the opening round to the tune of a bogey-free, 6-under par 65 on Pinehurst Course No. 6.
After her LPGA Tour campaign ended at the Volunteers of America Classic, Kaufman was No. 118 on the Official Money List with total season earnings of $76,180. That amount was just over $51,000 away from being inside the top-100 for the safety of a full card in 2020.
“It was nice to go out and make six birdies, no bogeys,” Kaufman said. “To see myself hit good shots and gain a little confidence, I’ll definitely take it.”
Kaufman knows the grind required to secure LPGA membership. In 2013, the Texas Tech University alumna earned a card by finishing tied for 23rd at the Qualifying Tournament Final Stage. She captured several high results on the big stage over the next several years including a career-best of 45th on the Official Money List in 2015. Then Kaufman found herself at Q-Series last year, but ended tied for 11th.
A two-time All-American for the Red Raiders, Kaufman discussed the struggle to regain that confidence she once had. However, she is doing more to improve her form and play including sessions with putting coach James Sieckmann leading up to Q-Series for a different look on the greens.
“It's one thing to hit it to six or eight feet, but if you don't make it then you might as well hit it to 40 and that's kind of how I felt at the end of the year,” said Kaufman. “Today I made some of those putts which I've been waiting to do pretty much all year, so it was nice to see it come together.”
DO COMES TO PINEHURST WITH FRESH START
Sitting two strokes back of 18-hole leader Kaufman in a tie for second is six-year LPGA Tour veteran Brianna Do (Lakewood, California) following a 4-under par 67 opening round highlighted by six birdies.
In 20 starts this year, Do played the weekend five times with a season-best of tied for 33rd at the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give. Since her rookie season on the LPGA of 2013, the UCLA alumna has played 84 career events. Now in an unfamiliar setting, the 2011 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Champion is hoping to wipe the slate for a fresh start.
“I've never been to Q-Series, so this is all new to me,” said Do. “Obviously it is a marathon, eight rounds and two weeks over two courses. I took the last two weeks to really refresh. It's been a tough season out on the LPGA and I just needed to figure a few things out. I did a good job of that and had a good day.”
CONSISTENT COUGHLIN CONTINUES STEADY PLAY
Rounding out the duo tied for second, Lauren Coughlin (Charlottesville, Virginia) signed for a bogey-free, 4-under par 67 this afternoon in Pinehurst, N.C. at Pinehurst Resort to jumpstart her second appearance at LPGA Q-Series presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina.
During the time off between the Epson Tour Championship and the start of Q-Series, Coughlin trained with former University of Virginia head coach Kim Lewellen and her husband John. They also happen to be her swing coaches. Furthermore, Coughlin spent time at home working on short game and statistics with Brian Bailie.
“Got my swing dialed in really good, found some really good swing thoughts and just kind of kept that going here,” said Coughlin, who missed only two cuts in 20 Epson Tour starts. “I also putted really well today. Kind of sputtered coming in since I wasn’t hitting it as close. It went great overall, but there’s still seven more rounds and need to keep it going.”
Emma Talley (-3, T4) on Q-Series being a blessing in disguise:
“I was nervous all day. I haven't been playing well this year, so to come out and really play steady kind of gets me off to a good start. Hit 16 greens and the only bogey I had was a three-putt bogey on the last. I do think this is just the beginning of something better to come, hopefully.”
Lauren Kim (-3, T4) on importance of getting off to a quick start:
“I think it's really important. It is a marathon and a really long two weeks. It's an emotional two weeks as well because you're playing for next year. But it feels good to get a round under par and hopefully I can continue the play tomorrow. I am not getting ahead of myself, there are seven more rounds. You kind of have to pace yourself in the same respect. I'm hitting the ball a lot better than last year and hope it will carry me through.”
Elise Bradley (-3, T4) on finding a rhythm in her game at the right time:
“It has been quite the struggle this year. I worked on my swing all year and it became so mechanical on the golf course. I think that helped me to get here, to where now I can be a lot more free with it. I'm just not being so technical anymore, and I think working on it all year long helped that. Now I am able to play very freely on the golf course.Basically trying to take it from range to course, just like any other event.”
- Kaufman, 28, is a native of Clark, S.D.
- Texas Tech University graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science
- Medalist for Red Raiders at 2012 Landfall Tradition and 2013 WGCA Second Team All-American
- Turned professional in June 2013 and competed on Epson Tour, capturing first title at Island Resort Championship
- Finished T23 at Final Stage of 2013 Qualifying Tournament to earn Priority List Category 17 status for 2014 LPGA Tour season
- Secured second career professional win at the 2014 Volvik Championship on the Epson Tour
- Ended T11 at inaugural LPGA Q-Series to earn Priority List Category 14 status for 2019 LPGA season
- Total of 12 top-10 results on the LPGA Tour in 149 career starts with a best showing of tied for second at the 2015 Blue Bay LPGA