NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. – Aronmink Golf Club allowed one player to reach 4 under par on Thursday and no one to finish better than 3 under.
And this might be as easy as it gets.
Players coming off the course after Round 1 of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship were complimentary of the setup and weary from the battle. It was 52 degrees when the first group went off, with a steady wind of 10-15 mph throughout the day.
Kerry Haigh, the chief championship officer of the PGA, cut the ladies some slack – all of 38 yards on the card. But the field didn’t complain about the 6,539 yards of Aronimink of which they had to navigate, nor the slopey greens that collect three-putts like badges of honor, nor the effects of Mother Nature.
“The course still played long but not stupidly long like we played in the practice round,” said three-time Women’s PGA champ Inbee Park, “because a lot of tees were moved up and the wind direction was different.”
Park hit 3-wood into the par-4 10th to 15 feet and made birdie. It was the highlight of an even-par round, and, judging by the players’ words, that might be around the winning number.
“I’d say anything under par is going to be pretty good if it blows like this,” Park said.
“I kind of think today is going to be the easiest.”
Georgia Hall agreed. The former Women’s Open champion turned in 3 under par but returned all three shots on the back nine for an even-par 70.
“I think it was quite fair. They pushed quite a few of the tees up, and yeah, it probably will be the easiest today,” she said. “I think it’s a major championship, it should be hard, it should be tough, so looking forward to tomorrow.”
Friday’s forecast calls for slightly warmer weather and the possibility for less wind. But Aronimink, a big course with big greens, is pliable in the Haigh’s hands.
“The is probably going to be the softest the course is going to play,” said Lydia Ko, who opened in 2-under 68. “That is probably a very true statement [Park] said.”