Hyo-Joo Kim shoots record 61

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Friday, September 12, 2014

EVIAN-LES-BAINS, France -- South Korean teen Hyo-Joo Kim made history with the lowest round in a major tournament, a faultless 10-under 61 to open the Evian Championship on Thursday.

According to the LPGA Tour, two women had shot 62s in a major: Minea Blomqvist of Finland in the third round of the 2004 British Open, and Lorena Ochoa in the first round of the 2006 Kraft Nabisco Championship.

In a men's major, 63 is the lowest, and it has been achieved multiple times.

"I like a hard course," said the 19-year-old Kim, who is in the first year of a physical education course at Seoul University. "I felt very comfortable today."

Kim, who tied for fourth here two years ago, takes a four-shot lead over seven-time major champion Karrie Webb into the second round.

"I made a chance [for] a birdie on every [hole]," said Kim, who had five birdies each on the front and back nines. "I missed some [but] it didn't matter."

Kim, who shot a 61 last year on Japan's JLPGA circuit, is ranked 20th in the world and leads the Korean LPGA money list with three wins.

Blomqvist and Ochoa might still be holding their record alone if not for Kim's remarkable escape on the third hole, when she went into the bunker off the tee and still managed to chip in for birdie.

"She had a few up and downs and a chip-in on the third," her caddie Gordon Rowan said. "She had a very difficult chip."

"She's not a massive hitter but has a very decent length, and keeps up with the girls. She's so straight and this is a course where you need to hit fairways because the rough is very thick. Her accuracy into the greens means that she's never far away. She also has a very good temperament, and even on days when she's fighting and putts don't fall, she keeps going."

The 39-year-old Webb had eight birdies and two bogeys.

Korean Mi-Jung Hur was five strokes off the lead in third place after a 66, while defending champion Suzann Pettersen of Norway and Brittany Lincicome of the U.S. were six behind.

Webb won the last of her seven majors at the Kraft Nabisco in 2006, the year she won at Evian.

"Probably the best I putted for a long time," said Webb, who said she switched to an old putter that she used about 12 years ago. "I changed swing coaches in the middle of the season, so I've actually probably put more work in through the summer than I normally would. The changes are starting to click."

Inbee Park, bidding for back-to-back majors after defending her title at the LPGA Championship, was tied for 12th at 2 under.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.