Sweden’s Frida Kinhult grabbed a share of the early lead at the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give on Thursday, firing a bogey-free, 6-under 66 at Blythefield Country Club to sit in a five-way tie for first. Kinhult made four birdies on the front nine and two birdies on the back nine en route to tying her low round of the 2023 season, which she last shot during the first round of the LOTTE Championship presented by Hoakalei, and the 66 also ties her second-lowest career round on the LPGA Tour. After missing the cut last week at the ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer, the 23-year-old was raring to go this week in Belmont, Mich. and enjoyed being able to be aggressive around a gettable Blythefield layout.
“Last week wasn't my best. Didn't really have the health on my side last week, so I was resting a lot. Feeling ready to go this week. Body is back in pretty good shape. Ball is going where I want it to. It was a fun one out there today,” said the 2020 Epson Tour graduate. “I'm an aggressive player and I think I'll stick with who I am, especially this course, it's pretty gettable. I haven't really checked the scores, but I assume they're low out there. It's a fun track, very gettable, and you have to be making birdies to be up there. So just stick to my plan, be aggressive, and try to make some birdies and have fun.”
This week in Belmont, Mich. marks Kinhult’s 11th LPGA Tour appearance of the 2023 season, and in her 10 previous starts, she’s missed three cuts and recorded a season-best finish of tied for 23rd at the LOTTE Championship. Today’s 66 is only the eighth round of the year that Kinhult has shot in the 60s, and coming into this event, she ranked near the top of only two other statistical categories, putts per green in regulation where she is fourth (1.73) and average driving distance where she is 12th at 275.82 yards.
With four major championships on tap in the coming summer months, Kinhult is one of many players hoping to catch fire in the latter half of the season, and off to a hot, bogey-free start so far at the Meijer LPGA Classic, the Swede may just be on to something as the LPGA Tour season heats up. Certainly three more rounds in the 60s at Blythefield would be a great confidence booster ahead of next week’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.
“I'm happy with the score. Obviously, a good start to the week, but a lot of golf left. Good day, tried to play pretty aggressive, and it seemed to work out. Still didn't really take advantage of the par-5s out here, which I'm hoping to do the next three days, but happy with the start and looking forward to the rest of the week,” said Kinhult. “Going into this week you have to have the mindset of low score and have fun and just try to make as many birdies as possible because it's gettable and people are going to make birdies out there. It's definitely an aggressive game plan course, so we'll just try to stay with that and go for it.”