Park Leads After Opening 62

By Sports NetworkOctober 14, 2004, 4:00 pm
2004 Samsung World ChampionshipPALM DESERT, Calif. -- Grace Park fired a 10-under-par 62 on Thursday to take the first-round lead of the Samsung World Championship at Bighorn.
The 62 established a new 18-hole tournament record at this event, which features an elite, 20-player field. Pat Bradley set the previous record of 63 in the 1986 event.
'I'm extremely thrilled. It's my first time shooting 10 under, so I'm happy,' said Park, who fired a 61 in the third round of this year's Welch's/Fry's Championship for her lowest all-time on tour. 'I felt very comfortable with my game, and today it was just an unbelievable day.'
Catriona Matthew is alone in second place after an opening-round of 64. Annika Sorenstam, a three-time former winner, defending champion Sophie Gustafson, and a pair of two-time winners on tour this season Cristie Kerr and Lorena Ochoa are tied for third place at minus-6.
Amateur sensation Michelle Wie struggled to a 2-over 74 and is tied for 18th with Se Ri Pak.
Park broke into red figures for the first time with a 15-foot birdie putt at the second hole. She knocked an 8-iron to 15 feet to set up birdie at the fourth and made it two in a row with a 10-footer at the fifth.
Park ran into trouble at the next hole, but it certainly did not look like there would be a problem. She hit a 9-iron to 15 feet at the par-3 hole, but three-putted for bogey.
Things went even better for the 25-year-old on the back nine. She hit a 7-iron to 10 feet for a birdie at the 10th, ran home a 4-footer for birdie at 11, then ran a 3-wood 2 feet from the hole for an eagle at the par-5 12th.
Park nestled her wedge-approach close at the 14th and tapped that in for birdie. At the 16th, Park hit an 8-iron to 15 feet and sank that for birdie. She tallied back-to-back birdies at 17 when her 6-iron second stopped 8 feet from the hole.
Park did not look like she was going to close her round with birdie and a 62. She hit a gap-wedge to 25 feet at the closing hole, but rolled in the putt for her second lowest round on the LPGA Tour.
Despite the new 18-hole tournament record, and her second lowest round on the LPGA Tour, Park knows that this is the first day of the tournament and anything can happen with this field.
'Every day is a new day and I will always remember this round and hopefully keep this momentum,' said Park, who captured her first major this season at the Kraft Nabisco Championship. 'I'm not going to think about today's round tomorrow. It's over, done with and I'm going to start fresh tomorrow.
Matthew, who won this year's Wendy's Championship for Children in a playoff against Hee-Won Han, flew out of the gate with a tap-in birdie at the first. She hit an 8-iron to 15 feet for another birdie at the second, then parred her next seven holes.
Matthew knocked a 9-iron to 2 feet for another kick-in birdie at 10, then came up just short of the green in two at the 12th. She chipped to 2 feet to set up birdie, then went on a spectacular birdie tear to get within two of Park's lead.
At the 14th, Matthew holed a 10-footer for birdie. Her second in a row came from 12 feet at 15, then half that distance for her third straight birdie at the 16th. Matthew hit a 5-iron to 3 feet for her fourth consecutive birdie at 17.
The 35-year-old from Scotland closed with a nice two-putt par to post her 64.
'I thought I played obviously well today,' said Matthew, a two-time Solheim Cupper. 'I could have had a few more birdies even. I missed a few short putts for birdies, but obviously I'm delighted with the score.'
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