Thanks to a new Olympic record 6-under 65, Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn holds the early lead by two shots over Inbee Park and Sei Young Kim. Here’s where things stand after the first round of Olympic women’s golf since 1900:
What it means: Two weeks removed from her first major victory at the RICOH Women’s British Open, Jutaugarn is in search of her fifth win of the year following three straight LPGA victories in May. The first Thai champion in LPGA history, Jutanugarn looked as if she was en route to her first major win in April at the ANA Inspiration before she bogeyed the last three holes and lost the tournament to Lydia Ko. She’s come back with a vengeance, and is now up to second in the Rolex rankings, trailing only Ko.
Round of the day: Jutanugarn made four front-nine birdies and erased a double bogey at the par-3 fourth with an eagle at the par-5 fifth. After picking up and dropping a shot at Nos. 10 and 11, she added two more circles at 14 and 16 to set the new single-round benchmark for women’s Olympic golf.
Best of the rest: Park, 28, is a seven-time major champion who officially qualified for the LPGA Hall of Fame in June at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. The otherwise celebratory occasion was dragged down by the circumstances surrounding her injured left thumb and the rules governing qualification. Citing an inflamed ligament, Park withdrew after one round from both the Kingsmill and Volvik Championships prior before missing the cut at the Women’s PGA. She nonetheless received credit for the official starts, which pushed her across the Hall of Fame’s finish line as a 10-year LPGA member. This is the former Rolex No. 1’s second start since she missed the cut that same week at Sahalee. On Tuesday, Park left open the possibility of an impending retirement but stated her goal to the play the year’s final major, the Evian Championship, in September. Park’s round of 66 was matched by fellow South Korean Sei Young Kim, the sixth-ranked player in the world who owns five Korean LPGA titles and five LPGA titles, including two this year.
Biggest disappointment: The ninth-ranked player in the world, Amy Yang carded three back-nine bogeys for a 2-over 73, making her the only of the four competing South Koreans not to break par.
Shot of the day: Even par through her first 14 holes, world No. 1 Lydia Ko holed out for eagle from 135 yards Wednesday at the 15th hole for a first-round 69.
Gaffe of the day: Japan’s Haru Nomura appeared headed for a two-putt par at the par-4 11th until she whiffed on this attempted tap-in.
Quote of the day: “I really think it doesn’t matter how my thumbs feels right now. I want to give it my best this week, and that injury is not going to be a problem this week.” - Park