The LPGA’s Thornberry Creek Classic has yet to begin, but should we already be on 59 watch?
Katherine Kirk thinks the course sets up for a fireworks show that will last well beyond Thursday’s Fourth of July celebration.
“I’m sure we’ll see some really good scores this week,” Kirk said. “Hopefully, maybe, a 59 watch.”
Sei Young Kim smashed the LPGA’s 72-hole scoring record in relation to par winning on the Thornberry Creek at Oneida (Wis.) course last year. She finished at 31 under, four shots better than the previous record she shared with Annika Sorenstam.
Kim put together rounds of 63-65-64-65 to win in a nine-shot runaway. She made 31 birdies and an eagle.
“She was just in this whole other zone and put on an absolute clinic,” said Kirk, who won the inaugural Thornberry Creek Classic in 2017 at 22 under. “I think you'll see a lot of girls go out the first day and try and get off to a really good start, because if you're too many behind going into even Friday, it's going to be hard to catch up.”
Kim is one of the tour’s most explosive players. She won the Bank of Hope Founders Cup at 27 under back in 2016, tying Sorenstam for the LPGA’s 72-hole scoring record at the time. Sorenstam set the mark winning the Standard Register Ping in 2001.
“I wanted to break the record last year, and I did,” Kim said.
Kim, 26, has finished top 10 in birdies in each of her first four seasons playing the LPGA.
While Kim has proven she can go low, she has also proven she can win on tough setups. She did that earlier this year, taking the Mediheal Championship with a 7-under total at Lake Merced outside San Francisco. That’s the highest winning score in relation to par this year outside of a major. The course was set up like a U.S. Open. With eight career LPGA titles, all Kim is missing on her resume is a major championship. She has finished fifth or better in six majors, with two runner-up finishes.
About the possibility of a 59 watch this week . . .
Sorenstam shot a 59 when she won the Standard Register Ping at Moon Valley Country Club in Phoenix in 2001. She remains the only woman to break 60 in LPGA history.