South Korea’s Ha-Neul Kim upstaged friend Inbee Park to take the first-round lead at her first U.S. Women’s Open.
Kim shot a bogey-free 6-under 66 on Thursday at Sebonack to lead Park by a stroke. The top-ranked Park is trying to make history by winning the first three majors of the year.
Currently a member of the KLPGA Tour, Kim is a seven-time winner in South Korea. She kept giving herself short birdie putts and making them.
Kim birdied her second-to-last hole with daylight waning to claim the lead after Park held it for most of the day with her 67 in the morning session.
No player has won the first three majors in a season with at least four majors.
American Lizette Salas, Swedes Caroline Hedwall and Anna Nordqvist and South Korea’s I.K. Kim shot 68. Second-ranked Stacy Lewis opened with a 71, and 16-year-old amateur star Lydia Ko shot 72.
Michelle Wie had a quadruple-bogey 8 on No. 10 in a round of 80.
AT&T NATIONAL: Roberto Castro took the first-round lead in the AT&T National at Congressional, shooting a 5-under 66 on the difficult course that has hosted three U.S. Opens.
Winless on the PGA Tour, Castro made three straight birdies late in his round with a 20-foot putt, a perfect 3-wood into a par 5 and a chip-in.
Only a dozen players shot in the 60s and the average score was just over 73, despite cloud cover for most of the day leading to soft conditions and only a light wind.
Billy Horschel, who tied for fourth in the U.S. Open two weeks ago at Merion, began his day with a 50-foot birdie putt, added a pair of birdies over the next three holes and then hung on for a 68. That was the best score among the early starters. Bud Cauley and Graham DeLaet each had a 68 in the afternoon.
IRISH OPEN: Saying he’s “feeling a bit lost” in a difficult year, Rory McIlroy shot a 2-over 74 in the Irish Open to fall eight strokes behind first-round leader Oscar Floren.
The second-ranked McIlroy, from Northern Ireland, had four bogeys and two birdies in wet and overcast conditions at Carton House. Floren, from Sweden, had a 6-under 66.
American Peter Uihlein was a stroke back along with Dutchman Joost Luiten, France’s Jean-Baptiste Gonnet, Northern Ireland’s Michael Hoey and Ireland’s Shane Lowry.