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Jenny Shin 3 off lead at LPGA major; Ko Jin-young 6 back

June 23, 2023 - 10:07 By Yonhap
Jenny Shin of South Korea hits a tee shot on the 11th hole during the first round of the KPMG Women's PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, New Jersey on Thursday. (Getty Images-AFP)

Jenny Shin is the top South Korean player after the opening round of the second major championship of the LPGA season.

Shin shot a two-under 69 to tie five others for sixth place in the first round of the KPMG Women's PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, New Jersey, on Thursday. The par-71 course played at 6,511 yards in the opening round.

Shin, whose Korean given name is Ji-eun, had five birdies against three bogeys. Her lone LPGA win to date came in May 2016.

Lee-Anne Pace of South Africa sat alone at the top after shooting a bogey-free 66.

Shin was the only South Korean inside the top 10 after 18 holes. Three Koreans, Choi Hye-jin, Lee Jeong-eun and Ji Eun-hee, were among 16 players at even-par 71.

World No. 1 Ko Jin-young managed a one-over 72 despite recording a double bogey on the par-5 seventh. She closed out her day with birdies on the 17th and the 18th, keeping herself within six back of the lead.

Ko started the week at the top of the world rankings and matched Lorena Ochoa for the most weeks spent at No. 1 with 158. She will try to break the tie at the KPMG Women's PGA Championship.

Three players ranked below her, Nelly Korda, Lydia Ko and Lilia Vu, all have a chance to grab the top spot after this tournament, but none of those three broke par in the opening round.

Lydia Ko and Korda, playing in the same group with Ko Jin-young, shot a 74 and a 76 respectively. Vu put up a 72.

Defending champion Chun In-gee struggled to a three-over 74, a round that included six bogeys.

The last player to win consecutive KPMG Women's PGA Championships is South Korean Hall of Famer Park In-bee, who captured three in a row from 2013 to 2015. (Yonhap)