After day one of the inaugural Circling Raven Championship in Worley, Idaho, three players are tied for the lead after opening rounds of -8. Min-G Kim (Cheongju, People’s Republic of Korea) finds herself in the group atop the leaderboard after carding two eagles, five birdies and one bogey at Circling Raven Golf Club.
“I hit a decent drive on both, followed by a decent 3-wood on both real close to the green and just chipped them both in,” said Kim. “Honestly, I was just enjoyed the round and trying not to think about it and going to continue to try and not think about it after this, it’s only day one, you never know. (To get my mind off of golf) I just do my usual workout stuff, lay in bed watching some Netflix and chill or listen to some music. It also helped this course really reminds me of home from the weather to the three lined fairways, I really like it.”
The 2020 IOA Championship presented by Morongo Casino Resort and Spa champion Fatima Fernandez Cano (Santiago, Spain) also joined the group at tied for first. She started this season with five top-10s in six starts and is currently No. 5 in the Race for the Card.
“I do I feel like in the middle of the season I kind of fell asleep on it a little bit it's not that I was not motivated but I was going with the flow a little bit too much,” said Fernandez Cano. “Now we have five (tournaments) left to go and nothing is set in stone yet and that kind of makes me a little mad because I started season so well that I feel like I should be a little bit higher in the rankings. It just gave me a little more motivation to come out here and do my best and hopefully play well.”
While Fernandez Cano and Kim have been competing on the Symetra Tour all season long, Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras (Roi-Eet, Thailand) has been back and forth between the LPGA and Symetra Tours. This is only her fourth start this season on the Road to the LPGA; in fact, she only arrived in Idaho yesterday after traveling from the AIG Women’s Open. Despite missing the cut in Scotland and not having a practice round in Idaho, she found momentum on day one to card a first-round -8.
“Without a practice round, I just looked at the yardage book and played today shot by shot. With a week off from the LPGA I wanted to take this time to work on my game and fine tune a few things,” said Thanapolboonyaras. “I didn’t expect to share the lead or shoot the low scores today, but seeing how I played well, I want to stick to that game plane moving forward into the weekend.”
PATRICK TAKES SOLO FOURTH AFTER 18 HOLES
After 18 holes, Symetra Tour rookie Katharine Patrick (West University Place, Texas) finds herself in solo fourth. Patrick is only one stroke off the lead with the help of holing out an eagle from 111 yards on No. 17. After missing the cut in her first six starts this season, she has made three of the last four and is looking to continue to build on the growth of her game this weekend in Worley, Idaho.
“I have a volunteer caddy this week (Jacob Eckstein) and he is familiar with the course. I used that to my advantage, I had good lines picked in my practice rounds so I just confirmed with him where the wind was going to change the line in accordance with it. Also, knowing where to miss gave me more confidence with each shot,” said Patrick.
“About a month ago my goal was to get up the money list so I didn’t have to go to Stage 1, now I have reset my goal, and anything can happen. So, my new goal is to just work my way up as best I can the rest of the season.”
Two players, both previous Symetra Tour champions, are right behind Patrick at -6 heading into Saturday. Kim Kaufman (Clark, South Dakota) went bogey-free to start the week in the Gem State, and is joined by 2020 Symetra Classic winner Peiyun Chien (Pingtung, Chinese Taipei) in a tie for fifth.
“I mean, a bogey-free round is always great. (The course) is very scorable, but the wind is being tough so when you keep going the right way it always feels good,” said Kaufman. “(Today I) finally struck the ball better and hit my irons really well. My short game has been sharper and has been for a while but this week I am just focusing finding the fairways and then I feel like I can attack any hole. I guess it’s really a confidence I haven’t had in a while.”