South Korea’s Hyo Joo Kim made history in Thursday’s first round of the Evian Championship.
With a 10-under-par 61, she posted the lowest round by a man or woman in the annals of major championship golf.
In an eventful start at Evian Golf Resort, Kim’s round of 10 birdies and no bogeys followed a hot start by Hall of Famer Karrie Webb and the withdrawal of Michelle Wie after she re-injured her index finger.
Kim leads Webb by four shots and fellow South Korean Mi Jung Hur by five shots with defending champion Suzann Pettersen and Brittany Lincicome each six shots back.
Kim broke the women’s record for low round in a major by one stroke. Minea Blomqvist shot a 62 in the third round of the Women’s British Open at Sunningdale in 2004, and Lorena Ochoa shot a 62 in the first round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship in 2006. The men’s record in a major is 63 and shared by several players.
“I feel great, I’m very happy,” Kim told reporters in France after her round.
Kim is just 19, a freshman at Seoul University, but she is one of the biggest stars on the Korean LPGA. She was that tour’s Rookie of the Year last season.
Webb, 39, was the early story in Evian, posting a 65 in a bid to win her eighth major championship, a feat that would move her into a tie for sixth on the women’s list of most major championship victories, equaling Betsy Rawls’ total.
Webb said she pulled a 12-year-old putter out of her closet before coming to Evian and it paid off with her hot start.
“Probably the best I putted in a long time,” Webb said.
Wie’s day ended early with the disappointment of another withdrawal.
Making her first start in a month, Wie reinjured her right index finger and pulled out on her 13th hole of the day. She said she hurt the finger again hitting a fat 3-wood stinger at her fourth hole of the day and again hitting out of a divot later. She was 5 over when she withdrew.
“I knew I should have stopped earlier, but I was having so much fun out there, and I wanted to keep playing,” Wie said. “But it got to the point where it was too painful. So, I just made the smart decision to not play.”
Wie withdrew after nine holes of the Meijer Classic on Aug. 7 in her last start with pain in the finger. She was diagnosed with a stress reaction to the bone. Wie hasn’t been able to build on her breakthrough win at the U.S. Women’s Open in June. She has two missed cuts and two WDs in her last four starts.
Rolex world No. 1 Stacy Lewis opened with a 70 with No. 2 Inbee Park and No. 3 Lydia Ko both shooting 69.