BETHESDA, Md. – In Gee Chun described her first round at historic Congressional as a near “perfect game.” She knew her opening 8-under 64, a course record on the renovated Blue Course, would be a tough act follow.
When asked if her second-round 69 at the KPMG Women’s PGA felt disappointing in comparison, Chun smiled broadly and said, “No, I think it’s still a great score.”
Who could argue?
Chun’s 11-under 133 total gives her a six-shot lead over Lydia Ko (67) and Jennifer Kupcho (68). Through two rounds she ranks tied for first in greens in regulation (31/36), tied for 15th in fairways (26/28) and second in putts per green in regulation.
After making four birdies with her 7-wood in the first round, she made three consecutive with her 9-wood early Friday. Both clubs are new to her bag this week, replacing her 4-hybrid and 3-hybrid. She got the idea after a scouting trip to Congressional a month ago.
“I used the 7-wood when I was really young,” she said. “I think at the beginning to start golf. I don’t know what age I stopped to use it, but I think almost more than 10 years. The 9-wood, it’s the first time to use.”
Chun earned LPGA status by winning the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open at Lancaster Country Club. The following year, she sank a 10-foot par putt on the last hole of the Amundi Evian Championship to finish at 21 under, setting a record for the lowest 72-hole score in men’s and women’s major championship history.
While the feat gave her more confidence, it also created higher expectations.
“That’s how I got a lot of pressure from my golf,” she said. “I just wanted to make perfect and another perfect. … I don’t want to get more stressed, or I don’t want to try to make a perfect game on the course. I just want to enjoy my golf game. That’s the key. I believe it’s the key.”
Ko, a two-time major winner who has yet to win the Women’s PGA, is in the midst of four consecutive starts. She has finished in the top five in each of her last three, including a fifth-place at the U.S. Women’s Open. Keeping her focus over the weekend will be key, she said.
“I know that sometimes when you are fatigued, you could lose focus and then hit some mistakes that you normally wouldn’t if you were a bit more sharp,” she said. “I think being rested is also really important for the weekend.”
Kupcho comes into this week fresh off a playoff victory at the Meijer LPGA Classic. In April, she held a six-stroke lead going into the final round of the Chevron Championship and held on to make her first victory on the LPGA a major.
“I think just in general, being back is a lot better,” said Kupcho, “whether it’s with a lot of people or not. I think being behind and trying to catch up is better.
“I mean, I had the lead at Chevron by a few strokes, so I know how it feels to be in her position. Being behind is at least my preferred way.”
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