Kim Hyo Joo takes early edge over Ko and Kerr to lead at British Open
South Korea’s Kim Hyo Joo produced the shot and the round of the day to lead the Women’s British Open by a shot from Lydia Ko and Cristie Kerr at sunbathed Turnberry on Thursday.
Kim took advantage of the favorable weather to post a seven under par 65 and raise her hopes of adding a second major to her victory in the Evian Championship in France last September.
At Evian, the 20-year-old shot a ten under par 61 in the first round — the joint lowest round in major championship history — and she again proved to be an opening day specialist with a flawless round of five birdies and an eagle.
The eagle came at the 449 yard 14th where she hit a second shot to inside a foot.
“I almost made an albatross,” said a delighted Kim, who has won six times on the Korean LPGA Tour and wasn’t even a member of the LPGA when she won the Evian title.
New Zealand’s Ko set her alarm for 3.30 a.m. to meet her 6.40 a.m. tee time — she admitted she pushed the snooze button a few times — but was wide awake by the time she teed off.
In a fast start, she birdied four holes in a row from the second and added others at the seventh, 10th and 14th. Her only error was a bunkered tee shot and a four at the short sixth.
Ranked No.1 in the world at the start of the year, 18-year-old Ko has two more chances — this week and the Evian Championship in September — to outdo Morgan Pressel and become the youngest ever winner of a women’s major.
The American won the 2007 Kraft Nabisco Championship when she was two months short of her 19th birthday.
“I don’t think too much about records,” confessed the Kiwi who has already said she will retire from golf at the age of 30.
“But my goal is to win one major in my career.
“This was my lowest round in a major so it was a nice solid start. I tried to take advantage of the good weather and the par fives.”
Kerr, the 2007 U.S. Women’s Open champion, eagled the long third by hitting her five iron second shot to 22 feet and making the putt and she also tagged seven birdies into her round to offset the three bogeys.
Runner-up to American Sherri Stenhauer at Royal Lytham and St. Annes in 2006, 37-year-old Kerr is keen to add a second major.
“But I’ll just be taking it day by day,” she insisted. “Today was lucky. The weather was spectacular.”
Hovering around on two under par are a few seasoned campaigners.
World No .1 Park Inbee was a little disappointed with her 69 — “I wasn’t in complete control of my ball striking” — while 2007 champion Stacy Lewis was on 70.
Oddest round of the day belonged to Paula Creamer.
Out in 40 with an eight at the fifth — she took three to escape from a bunker — she came home in 31.
“I was two different players,” said the 2010 U.S. Women’s Open champion.
The opening day of the tournement also saw the Turnberry course owner, and 2016 U. S. presidential hopeful, Donald Trump make a spectacular entrance.
The 69- year- old arrived on his private helicopter, sporting a cap emblazoned with the slogan “Make America Great Again.”
Trump showed up despite becoming embroiled in a controversy with golf authorities over comments he made about Mexicans.