news 1 week ago

Defending champ Kirk leads Thornberry LPGA with record-tying 62

AFP

Los Angeles (AFP) -

Defending champion Katherine Kirk bounced back from the worst round of her pro career with a sparkling 62 on Thursday to seize the first-round lead at the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic.

"Golf is funny," the Australian veteran said shortly after matching the course with her 10-under effort.

"When you've played it as long as I have professionally you realize some days will be good and some will be bad."

Thursday was good from the get-go as Kirk opened with birdies at 10, 11 and 12 on the par-72 Thornberry Creek course in Oneida, Wisconsin, quickly putting her second-round 83 at last week's KPMG Women's PGA Championship out of her mind.

She birdied seven of her first nine holes, then birdied three more coming in, hitting 14 of 14 fairways and 17 of 18 greens in regulation.

"Obviously there are good vibes here and I have a lot of confidence on this golf course," said Kirk, who won with a 22-under par total last year for her third LPGA title and her first in seven years.

"It just suits my eye. So with that being said, you can only play one hole at a time. That's all I did today. I just stayed in the moment."

South Korea's Kim Sei-young carded a nine-under 63 that included six straight birdies on her back nine.

Canada's Brittany Marchand and American Megan Khang were tied for third on eight-under 64.

Khang enjoyed the ideal scoring conditions and the aggressive approach they allowed.

"I definitely knew that the course was gettable," she said. "Just last year I think the winning score was 22-under. Definitely with the amount of rain we got we knew that we could go after some pins.

"I personally like to play aggressive," added Khang, who has four top-10 finishes this year. "I think this will be a good week."

In ideal scoring conditions, the average for the round was 69.58.

Emma Talley reeled off nine birdies in 10 holes from the second through the 11th, a spell that included six birdies in a row.

She admitted that half a dozen birdies on the trot briefly had her thinking of a 59.

"I was already counting in my head at one point, what do I have to do to shoot 59," she said. "It kind of went downhill from there. I had never even played 13, 14 or 15 yet because it got rained out yesterday."

After her birdie binge ended at the 11th, Talley parred six straight before a closing bogey.

"Thank goodness I had a good start," she said. "The last few holes were a little rough."

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