BETHESDA, Md. – In Gee Chun described her first round at the historic Congressional as an almost “perfect game”. she knew her opening 8-under 64a course record on the renewed Blue Course would be a difficult task to follow.
When asked if her second round 69 at the KPMG Women’s PGA was disappointing in comparison, Chun smiled broadly and said, “No, I still think it’s 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). In two rounds, she is tied for first in regulation greens (31/36), 15th in fairways (26/28) and second in putts per green in regulations.
After making four birdies with her 7-wood in the first round, she made three birdies in a row 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 reconnaissance trip to Congressional a month ago.
“I used the 7-wood when I was very young,” she said. “I think in the beginning to start playing golf. I don’t know at what age I stopped using it, but I think almost more than 10 years. The 9 wood, it’s the first time you use it.”
In Gee Chun, her shot plays from the tenth tee during the second round of the 2022 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports)
Chun earned LPGA status by winning the 2015 US Women’s Open at Lancaster Country Club. The following year, she sank a 10-foot par putt on the final hole of the Amundi Evian Championship to finish 21 under, setting a record for the lowest 72-hole score in the history of the men’s and women’s major championship. .
While the achievement gave her more confidence, it also raised 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 stressed anymore, 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 that the key.”
Ko, a two-time major winner who has yet to win the Women’s PGA, is on four straight starts. She finished in the top five in each of her last three, including fifth place at the US Women’s Open. Keeping her focus over the weekend will be key, she said.
“I know that sometimes when you’re fatigued, you could lose your focus and then make mistakes that you wouldn’t normally do if you were a little sharper,” she said. “I think being rested is also very important for the weekend.”
Kupcho comes in this week, fresh off a playoff win at the Meijer LPGA Classic. In April, she had a six-stroke lead in the final round of the Chevron Championship and held on to make her first LPGA win a big one.
“I think in general it’s a lot better to be back,” Kupcho said, “whether with a lot of people or not. I think running behind and trying to catch up is better.
“I mean, I was a few strokes ahead of Chevron, so I know what it feels like to be in her position. In any case, I prefer to stay behind.”