Small-town Kaufman tied for early Founders Cup lead


PHOENIX – They’re cheering for her back at Sporty’s and the Lookout.

Those are the two bars in Kim Kaufman’s hometown of Clark, S.D., a little city of about 1,000 residents with one grocery store, a diner and no traffic lights.

Kaufman, 23, a second-year LPGA pro, is a favorite daughter back there, and she knows they must love seeing her atop the leaderboard at the weather-delayed JTBC Founders Cup at Marriott’s Wildfire Golf Club.

“I know it was probably on about every TV in Clark,” Kaufman said.

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Kaufman shared the lead with Lydia Ko, Sophia Popov and Tiffany Joh when play was suspended due to darkness at 6:30 p.m. local time. Overnight and morning rain delayed the start of the first round for four hours. Sixty-six players were still on the course when darkness halted play. The first round is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. Friday with the second round expected to start about 10:30 a.m.

Kaufman is a second-year pro who played at Texas Tech and made a solid start as rookie, finishing 58th on the LPGA money list. Her best finish in an LPGA event is a tie for fourth at last year’s 2014 North Texas Shootout.

Kaufman’s the best female golfer to come out of South Dakota since Kris Tschetter, who won the 1992 Northgate Computer Classic.

“Everyone definitely knows everyone [in Clark],” Kaufman said. “I don't go back enough. They support me so much there, I don't even realize it. I've got to get back more often. I know they are all 100 percent behind me.”