Yet again, In Gee Chun is making her presence known at a major championship. Chun, who won the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Congressional Country Club in June, carded a 5-under 66 on Friday at the AIG Women’s Open and vaulted to the top of the leaderboard. Her six birdies included a 20-footer that hung up on the lip at No. 13, sitting there for a few seconds before falling in, much to the delight of the Scottish fans.
“We have a big wind out there, but I have great reason why to love the Scottish now because my ball was sit on the edge of the hole today, and after like three seconds it dropped in,” said Chun with a big laugh. “Now I can enjoy more like Scottish greens.”
Chun has four career LPGA Tour victories – the 2018 LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship and major wins at the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open presented by ProMedica, the 2016 Amundi Evian Championship and the 2022 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. Should the 27-year-old South Korean take the win on Sunday, she would become the eighth player in LPGA Tour history to earn the Career Grand Slam, winning four different majors available in her career. And when Chun has a major lead, she is particularly good on the follow through. This is the third time Chun has held the 36-hole lead or co-lead in a major. She went on to win the previous two instances, including earlier this summer at Congressional.
“I know golf is a scoring game, not the shot game,” said Chun. “So I just trust what I thought and what I think, just make a good focus on the course and trying to be positive way, because I trust golf is the scoring game.”
South African Ashleigh Buhai and Sweden’s Madelene Sagstrom are tied for second at -7 after both posted rounds of 70-65. Both players have previously come close to AIG Women’s Open success: Sagstrom tied for second in 2021 after holding the lead through 18 holes, while Buhai played in the final group in 2019 before finishing fifth.
Seven-time major winner Inbee Park, whose last major victory came at the 2015 AIG Women’s Open, holds down solo fourth at -6. Park has three top-10 finishes this year but came to Muirfield on a streak of two straight missed cuts. While she admits that her putting has not been up to her usual Hall-of-Fame standards this year, the 34-year-old Park isn’t thinking about retirement quite yet. But she knows that a major win seven years after she hoisted the trophy on Turnberry’s Ailsa Course would be a great capper on her illustrious career.
“I think that will be a very good way to saying a farewell. I think it's definitely one of my dreams to do it,” said Park. “I still have a little bit left in me, so trying to keep that going for now.”
Hannah Green and Miyu Yamashita are tied for fifth at -5. 2019 AIG Women’s Open winner Hinako Shibuno held the lead through 18 holes at -6, but shot a 2-over 73 on Friday to fall into a tie for seventh at -4. She is joined by 2022 U.S. Women’s Open champion Minjee Lee, as well as two-time Tour winner Celine Boutier and 2022 rookie Steph Kyriacou.
The cut came at +3, with 65 players advancing to weekend play. Rolex Rankings No. 1 Jin Young Ko finished at +5 and missed her first major cut since the 2018 AIG Women’s Open. Other notables to miss the cut include defending AIG champion Anna Nordqvist (+4), 2020 AIG winner Sophia Popov (+4) and U.K. favorites Catriona Matthew (+7) and Laura Davies (+14). Rose Zhang is the lone amateur to make the cut and will receive the Smyth Salver, given to the major’s low amateur.