Charley Hull made an encouraging start in her bid for a maiden major title as she fired a four-under 68 in the opening round of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.
Hull kick-started her challenge with an eagle at the fourth and added five birdies at Kemper Lakes, although three bogeys – including two over the last three holes, left her two strokes adrift of early first-round leader Sung Hyun Park.
World No 6 Park birdied four of the first seven holes and picked up two more shots on the back nine to complete a bogey-free 66 which hoisted the South Korean one ahead of Brittany Altomare, Brooke Henderson, Jaye Marie Green and Hull’s playing partner Jessica Korda.
Hull’s big highlight was her eagle-three at the fourth which she followed with a birdie at five, although she dropped her first shot of the day at the eighth before beginning the inward nine with back-to-back birdies.
The English star had a mixed finishing stretch as she offset further gains at 15 and 17 with bogeys at the 16th and 18th, but Hull was pleased with her performance despite experiencing issues with a lack of grip on her footwear.
“I played pretty well, but I just slipped quite a few times on a few shots,” said Hull. “I felt like I putted quite well, I hit it quite well, and it was a decent day, apart from bogeying the last, but it was a good day.
“I like majors, they’re my favourite weeks. I just think the golf courses, they suit me better because they’re tricked up a bit more, and I like that. I enjoy it.
“I think this is my best start of the season I’ve had in my career on the LPGA. I’ve had a few top-10s, including both the majors so far this year, and I’m just playing really good. I just feel my game is in great shape.”
Hull’s compatriot and Solheim Cup team-mate Jodi Ewart Shadoff opened with a solid two-under 70, while Mel Reid was also two under with two holes remaining.
Shot of the day went to world No 3 and home favourite Lexi Thompson, who was one over with four to play when she made a hole-in-one at the short sixth, her perfect nine-iron finding the bottom of cup 165 yards away.
But Thompson then ran up a bogey-six on the next hole and parred in to stay at level par along with English duo Georgia Hall and Bronte Law and US Women’s Open champion Ariya Jutanugarn.
Live LPGA Tour Golf
June 29, 2018, 5:30pm
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