Chun In-gee sets record pace in first round of Women’s PGA Championship

Chun In-gee has set a blistering pace at the Women’s PGA Championship, hitting an eight-under-par 64 to equal the lowest opening round in tournament history.

The two-time major winner took a first-round lead with a score only posted three times before in the event, and also set the new course record at Congressional Country Club. The last player to open the Women’s PGA Championship with a 64 was Nicole Castrale in 2006.

Chun’s round included nine birdies and just one bogey. It also set a new best mark for the recently remodelled Blue Course in Bethesda where Rory McIlroy won the US Open by eight shots in 2011.

“I feel so good because I always think when my name is going with something, then I feel very honoured and it makes me keep going to play golf,” the South Korean said after her remarkable round.

Chun, currently ranked No 33 in the world, was so dominant among Thursday’s early starters that she held a seven-shot clubhouse lead among the group of players teeing off in the morning.

The defending champion, Nelly Korda, was one of the group who finished at one-under par. “I don’t know what golf course [Chun] is playing!” she said afterwards. “She must be playing really well. When I tee it up today, I would be very happy with the score that I shot.”

Chun will begin her second round in Maryland with a three-shot lead after Thailand’s Pornanong Phatlum and Chun’s compatriot, Choi Hye-jin, shot rounds of 67 later on. Behind them, South Africa’s Paula Reto and US hopeful Jennifer Chang are tied for fifth on two under par.

The 27-year-old’s flying start also caught the eye of the two-time men’s PGA Championship winner, Justin Thomas. “I can’t stop staring at the leaderboard,” he tweeted. “Leading by seven halfway through day one!!!!”

The 2015 US Women’s Open champion has pedigree when it comes to low scoring. Her winning total of 21-under-par at the 2016 Evian Championship is the record for any major golf tournament.