Kim of fire; equals course record at LPGA Thailand

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South Korea’s In-Kyung Kim made a blistering start to the 2011 LPGA Thailand Open at Siam Country Club yesterday, setting a course equaling record of 63 to lead by 3 shots after the first day.

Playing in the first group out, the world seventh-ranked Kim began with a birdie on the par 5 opening hole and picked up eight more in a bogey-free round to equal the course record set by 2007 winner Suzann Pettersen, Stacy Prammanasudh in 2009 and defending champion Ai Miyazato.

South Korea’s In-Kyung Kim hits an approach shot during her round of 63 on Thursday.South Korea’s In-Kyung Kim hits an approach shot during her round of 63 on Thursday.

She even had a chance to set a new mark all by herself but her putt on the eighteenth green lipped out.

“I didn’t think about the record, I just wanted to play well,” Kim said.  “I saw I was teeing off first today and thought that was kind of lucky.  A little bit cooler weather than the other players.  I started with a birdie and kept making birdies somehow.  I didn’t think about what I was going to do, I just played every shot.

The top-ranked Yani Tseng from Taiwan and veteran Juli Inkster from the USA were the closest challengers to Kim, both carding 66’s to finish three off the pace.

“It’s a pretty good round for this course.  It’s playing longer this year,” Tseng said.  “I hit lots of 7-iron, 6-iron, 5-iron, which is totally different from last year.  I just didn’t hit my irons as good, but I’m staying patient and I hope the next three days get better.”

Following immediately behind the top three were Scotland’s Catriona Matthew (67) and Pettersen (68), and Paula Creamer, Michelle Wie and Stacy Lewis (all on 69).

Current world No. 1, Yani Tseng from Taiwan, was in second place after the first round.Current world No. 1, Yani Tseng from Taiwan, was in second place after the first round.

Gallery favourite Michelle Wie was 6 shots off the lead after the opening day.Gallery favourite Michelle Wie was 6 shots off the lead after the opening day.