6 takeaways from round one of the KPMG Women's PGA Championship

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6 takeaways from round one of the KPMG Women's PGA Championship

First round play of the 2017 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship was suspended at 7:01 p.m. and will resume at 7:45 a.m. on Friday at Olympia Fields (Ill.) Country Club. Thirty players did not complete their first round and will be in position and ready to resume play at 7:45 a.m.

All second round starting times will begin on time Friday beginning at 7:30 a.m. off of Tee #1 and Tee #10.

MORE: KPMG Women's PGA Championship leaderboard, tee times, pairings

A strong finish by the Republic of Korea’s Chella Choi put her atop the leaderboard (alongside Amy Yang, who is also at 5-under-par but did not complete her first round due to weather) on Thursday at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. The No. 56 ranked player in the world birdied four of her final six holes to card a 5-under-par 66. Choi’s lone career win came at the 2015 Marathon Classic presented by Owens Corning and O-I. She comes into the Championship having played quite well over the past month, with a T10 and two T11s.

“This is the biggest tournament, so I want to play well,” said the 26-year-old Choi. “I hit really good tee shots today. I had a lot of chances in the fairway. My putting was there today, so I made a lot of birdies.”

Choi’s best finish in a major came in 2013 at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, formerly the LPGA Championship, when she finished in a tie for fifth. Last year, she finished in a tie for eighth when the Championship was contested at Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish, Washington.

Defending Champion Brooke Henderson and Michelle Wie headline a group of four players at 3-under, 68 (two other players are at 3-under, but did not complete their opening rounds). Henderson, who is attempting to become the first LPGA member to win the same major championship in consecutive years since Inbee Park won this Championship three straight years from 2013-15, closed strong by carding bidies on three of her final six holes. Meanwhile, Wie’s 31 on Olympia Fields’ back nine was the best 9-hole mark posted on Thursday. Her top finish in this Championship was a runner-up in 2005.

MORE: Henderson's hot start | Wie shoots 3-under 68 in round one

Brittany Altomare played well in the morning wave, posting a 4-under-par 67 to match her second-lowest round of 2017 (she carded a 66 in the second round of the LOTTE Championship Presented by HERSHEY in April). Altomare’s 67 today included five birdies and just a single bogey (on No. 3), and she hit 12 of 14 fairways and recorded nine 1-putts.

Altomare is a former Junior PGA Champion, having won in 2006 at Westfield Group Country Club in Westfield Center, Ohio. Other Girls Junior PGA Champions in the field at Olympia Fields this week are Ariya Jutanugarn (2011, ’12), Cristie Kerr (1995), Inbee Park (2001, ’02) and Lexi Thompson (2007, ’09). Altomare was also was a member of the 2006 U.S. Junior Ryder Cup Team, which halved its match, 6 to 6, with Europe at Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, Wales.

PHOTO GALLERY: Best images from round one of the KPMG Women's PGA Championship

The 2017 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship features 96 players representing the following 29 countries, or 61.5 percent of the field: Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Iceland, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Norway, Republic of Korea, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand and Wales.

To commemorate So Yeon Ryu’s status as the new Rolex World No. 1, the LPGA Tour hosted a brief ceremony on the 10th tee before her starting time on Thursday, June 29, 2017. In honor of the new ranking, Ryu's caddie will don a green bib in place of the white bib at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. This marks Ryu's first time competing as the Rolex World No. 1. 

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