HARRISON, N.Y. – Hyo Joo Kim may be a rookie, but her name gets the attention of the game’s best players when it hits a leaderboard.
Kim beat Stacy Lewis in a head-to-head final-round duel to win the JTBC Founders Cup in March. She beat Karrie Webb in a head-to-head duel down the stretch to win the Evian Championship and claim the final major championship late last year. It was Kim’s first appearance in a major and yet she opened the championship shooting 61.
“Winning Evian was no fluke,” Webb said earlier this year. “She’s definitely got game.”
Kim showed that yet again Thursday as she battled to get in the early hunt to win another major with a 3-under-par 70 in the first round of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. That was good for a tie for the lead with the morning wave finishing at Westchester Country Club.
“I’ve gained a lot of experience playing with different players here in the LPGA,” Kim said through a translator.
Kim, 19, may technically be a rookie, but she is already No. 4 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings. She brought a lot of experience into her first LPGA season. She was the Korean LPGA Tour’s Player of the Year in 2014 and Rookie of the Year in 2013. Her victory at Evian last year earned her LPGA membership this year.