HARRISON, N.Y. -- Sadena Parks probably wasn't all that pleased with her opening shot on the par-3 first hole at Westchester Country Club in Thursday to start the KPMG Women's PGA Championship.
Parks went long right into a collection area.
Whatever disappointment she may have had with the tee shot instantly disappeared when she did this:
What a birdie.
In 10 starts this season, Parks has made the cut just once, finishing T45 at the Swinging Skirts Classic. At the time of this post, Parks was 1 under through 13 holes, four shots out of the lead.
HARRISON, N.Y. -- World No. 1 Lydia Ko didn't have her best stuff during the first round of the KPMG Women's PGA Championship at Westchester Country Club on Thursday, but it was still good enough to turn in a 1-under 72, just two off the clubhouse lead at the time of this post.
After a fairly uneventful front nine with a birdie and a bogey for an even-par 36, things got colorful for Ko on the inward nine.
Ko birdied the short, par-4 10th hole, followed by a bogey on the 11th. She birdied the par-5 12th, but bogeyed the par-4 13th. After another bogey on the par-3 16th, Ko finished the day with back-to-back birdies to end on a high note.
"I think it's really important," Ko said about her birdie-birdie finish. "I personally love courses where you can finish on a par 5. I feel like it makes it very interesting. And especially if the leaders are close, you just never know what the score is going to be like. I love that we are finishing on a par 5, and two birdies in a row, I hit some solid shots. So yeah, just got to take that out tomorrow."
When asked if the course played like a U.S. Open-style venue, Ko said it did.
"This course, like I said yesterday, there's nothing about it I would say it's not a major," she said. "It's got great facilities, great hospitality, and the course itself is playing tough. You can lose shots in the blink of an eye and you can grab some along the way.
"I think patience is really one of the big things," she added. "If you're not patient out there, it's going to get to you. You're going to make some silly bogeys or make some good bogeys maybe. Yeah, just keep the mind in a positive state, that's what I tried to do the last two holes coming in. I think that's really important. Just got to know that, hey, there may be some tough holes but then there are some holes that you could recover from."
And that's precisely what Ko did on Thursday.
HARRISON, N.Y. -- On the LPGA Tour, Brittany Lincicome's nickname is "Bam Bam" because she can smash her driver. She just crushes it.
So, when she saw that Westchester Country Club features five par 5s this week, Lincicome was licking her chops.
"See my eyes light up," said Lincicome, who already won the first LPGA major of the year at the ANA Inspiration in April. "I'm super excited. The first couple days, Monday, I had only played nine holes and I'm like, 'wow, am I missing something?' And then two of them are reachable -- actually all three of them were reachable today. So that makes it even more exciting. All you focus on is getting it in play and then you go from there. So any time the par 5s are reachable, your scorecard kind of goes from normally 72 to kind of 68 and, this week it might even go one lower. But being a major obviously there's going to be a couple bogeys out there that are going to happen; it's inevitable. A couple under par each day would probably be really good."
In Thursday's first round of the KPMG Women's PGA Championship, Lincicome played the five par 5s in 3-under par with one bogey, an eagle, two birdies and a par on her way to a 3-under 70.
The eagle at the par-5 15th hole was the highlight of the round, followed by a birdie on the difficult par-3 16th moments later.
Lincicome hit a 4-iron from 203 yards out into the 15th green, which left a speedy, downhiller for eagle.
"The putt, actually, if it wouldn't have hit the hole, I think it would have gone off the green," she said. "Jeff (her caddie) asked if I had dented the cup at all, if I needed to replace the cup because it was going in with some speed. The next hole, my birdie putt was three, four feet and if I would have missed it I wouldn't even have cared because that hole I literally just tried to make par on every day and just keep moving, because I think that's one of the toughest par 3s that we've ever played just because it's so far and the green is so small. I got really lucky there."
Lincicome was paired with Cristie Kerr and Jessica Korda in Round 1 and all three players were solid. Kerr and Korda also opened with 70.
Lincicome and Korda were especially impressive, as both players played their final nine holes in 4-under par after making the turn at 1 over.
"We both (Lincicome and Korda) birdied 9 and going to 10 and said: 'Let's do a $5 birdie game to get us motivated to shoot better,'" Lincicome said. "She birdied the last so we were tied unfortunately or I was going to be up $5. Just the small things. We just kind of needed something to kind of motivate us to get back in it. We weren't out of it by any means, but obviously being a major, you never know if you're going to birdie that many holes coming in. If you're already over par, it's hard to get it back. It was just fun. Kerr and Korda, it was a great group all around. We had a really good day."
Was Kerr in on that game?
"We didn't let Kerr in because she was already making too many birdies," Lincicome joked. "She doesn't need any motivation. She's going to walk it in and make her birdies."
HARRISON, N.Y. -- Cristie Kerr, a 17-time winner on the LPGA Tour with two major wins, had herself tied at the top of the leaderboard midway through the first round of the KPMG Women's PGA Championship on Thursday after firing a 3-under 70 at Westchester Country Club.
Kerr's only blemish of the day was a bogey at the par-5 fifth hole. She immediately bounced back with a birdie at the par-3 sixth to right the ship.
"The front nine I had a bunch of chances and a couple putts lipped out, and I just tried to stay patient and got off to a great start on the back nine," said Kerr, who birdied two of her first three holes on the back side. "I made kind of a longer putt on No. 10 and then a great save on the next hole and then just kind of got some momentum. You know, 3-under, had a couple putts lip out, but I made a couple great saves, as well. Like on the par 3, 16, hit it way right of the green, flopped it up there and made about a 12 -- at least a 12-footer for par. I went on to birdie the next hole so kind of kept the momentum going today."
For well over a decade, Kerr has been one of the LPGA's most consistent winners. The 37-year-old whose last win came in March at the Kia Classic, said that because of her competitive nature, she doesn't see herself slowing down anytime soon -- like LPGA legend, Juli Inkster.
"Juli [Inkster] has always been my idol," Kerr said of the 54-year-old, seven-time major winner. "She's still a grinder. She still loves to practice and compete. I'm the same way. It's just fun. It is hard. There are some really tough days and there's some really rewarding days. It's always that unattainable chase that you look forward to trying to get every day, for me, at least."
This is the inaugural year for the reimagined KPMG Women's PGA Championship. Kerr said that given the atmosphere, there's no denying that this is a major week.
"It is a major in every way," she said. "I always think it's interesting when you start a golf course out with a par 3. Some of the best courses in the world do that, like Lytham and St. Annes. I think the long par 3 starts that course. Some of the greatest courses are par 3s to start off. So it was interesting that they brought a little bit of that old-school kind of here to New York, and it's not like just driver down the middle of the fairway. You have to place your shot on the first shot of the tournament. I think that's kind of cool."
Justin Bieber took to the links in Los Angeles on Saturday and -- lucky us -- someone filmed a little of it.
Based on what I can see here, Bieber is quite generous with the rules, has a temper and a wild, wild swing:
Assessment? I'd rather listen to his music than play behind him.
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Quail Hollow Club
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