South African Lee-Anne Pace posted a bogey-free round of 66 to lead the KPMG Women's PGA Championship by one shot after day one.
The top five players of the KPMG Women's PGA Championship leaderboard have just one bogey between them as they prepare to head into the second round on Friday.
Sitting at the top with a one-shot lead is South African Lee-Anne Pace, a well known name in Europe but maybe less so on the other side of the pond. At 42-year-old and 18 years as a professional, she is referenced as a veteran of the game. But with a veteran status comes a lot of experience and she used that to great effect in her first round at Baltusrol.
"We kept it pretty simple. Most of the greens we went for the middle, didn't really attack too many pins." A tactic that paid off as scored one birdie on the front nine and four on the back, including one on the final hole.
Commenting on her round, Pace said: "Obviously it's fantastic. I feel really good about my round. I feel very good that I'm so patient out there and calm, which is fantastic. But obviously to come out here and play against the best in the world and post a score like that is going to be something I'll never forget."
One shot back at four-under-par is reigning Amundi Evian Champion Brooke Henderson, who had the one bogey of the top five on the 15th hole. The Canadian only had compliments about playing at Baltusrol:
"It's amazing to get the opportunity to play here. Everything is in such amazing condition, and with it raining a little bit overnight and then this morning, the conditions were a little bit softer, which made it, I think, a little bit easier to score today. But we'll see what tomorrow brings in the morning. Hopefully, it's softer again and can go out and make a few more putts."
The 25-year-old also touched on why she performs well at Major championships:
"It really takes a lot both mentally and physically, these events, but I think it's just the energy that this event brings every year is what makes me really excited. The great venues and the increase in purse sizes and there's more television coverage, too, so there's a lot of great things going for this event, and it's nice that I've been able to play well in this."
China's Xiyu 'Janet' Lin and Ruoning Yin, also share second spot at four-under-par. Lin who narrowly missed out on her first LPGA Tour win at the end of April, losing a play-off to Hannah Green at the JM Eagle LA Championship, talked about her round:
"My patience. Well, bogey-free is phenomenal but I don't think it comes from I hit every shot great and I putt every ball great. I definitely had to save lots of good pars and some hard tee shots, some shots from the bunkers, some shots from the rough. I'm very glad I deal with this whole thing with lots of patience and do it pretty smart. Like to me, bogey-free, I never really imagined I can do that in a major, so that's pretty good."
Yin, who won the DIO Implant LA Open in April, now has more belief in her game:
"I think this year versus last year, the big difference is I see myself can win on this tour, and I did early this year, which gives me a lot of confidence. I just believe I belong to this tour, now I can win more."
Topping off the top five is Thai player Wichanee Meechai who is three-under-par.
The top five came from the later starters on the first day. Topping the leaderboard earlier on Thursday afternoon were Norway's Celine Borge and Ireland's Leona Maguire both at two-under-par.
Four other players are tied with Borge and Maguire and one shot further back in Rose Zhang. All eyes have been on the American heading into this week. With a two bogeys on the first four holes, the round didn't start well but in her own words she ground back with three birdies including one on the final hole.
It wasn't a great day for defending champion In Gee Chun who is in a tied for 61st at three-over-par. Whilst English starts Georgia Hall and Charley Hull are likely to be very disappointed with eight-over-par rounds of 79. They'll have a lot of work to do to make the current projected cut of +3.
Play kicks off at 7am (EDT) and LIVE coverage begins at 11am (EDT). View the full KPMG Women's PGA Championship leaderboard here.
Inspired by the second women's Major of the season? Why not come and watch the best players in the world at the AIG Women's Open this summer at Walton Heath. Ticket prices start from £20.