BRYAN, Texas — Yujeong Son’s career low for 18 holes is 66, and in practice leading up to Monday’s opening round at the 40th Junior PGA Championship, the best she could manage at Miramont Country Club was even par. So no one was more surprised to be the first-round leader than Son, whose razor-sharp iron game allowed her to collect eight birdies en route to a 7-under 64 and a three-stroke lead.
"I didn’t expect to play 18 holes without a bogey," said Son, who is a month away from starting her freshman year at Norman (Okla.) High School. "I started out with 5-under 30 on the front, and I think the key was that I hit a lot of my irons really close. These greens are so big, they are so fast and they break so much, so it was good not to leave myself a lot of long putts."
After holing a 20-foot birdie putt at the 165-yard third, a hole she called "a momentum shifter in the round, an uphill, left-to-right breaker that I had no idea was going to go in," Son, No. 24 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Junior Rankings, rattled off three birdies in a row starting at the fifth. Back-to-back birdies at Nos. 11 and 12 preceded her only blemish of the round, a bogey at the short 13th, where she hit her tee shot into a greenside bunker and then missed a 10-footer for par.
She capped her round by getting up and down from 105 yards at the double-fairway, par-5 18th.
"I was so thankful I had that kind of putt," she said of her par-saving 6-footer, "and it was good because (fellow competitor) Grace (Do) showed me the line just before my putt."
Fai Khamborn of Cincinnati, Ohio, was in second place following a 4-under-par 67 in which she opened with seven straight pars, then birdied five of her last 11 holes. Kaitlyn Papp of Austin, Texas, ranked No. 17 nationally, and Elizabeth Wang of San Marino, Calif., shared third place with 3-under-par 68s, and Morgan Goldstein (69) of Las Vegas and Mariel Galdiano of Pearl City, Hawaii (1-under-par 70) completed the group of six players to break par at Miramont.
Read the full story at www.Golfweek.com. For complete first round results, click here.
In the boys championship, Austin Eckroat of Edmond shot a 4-under par 67 and is just one shot back of first-round leader Philip Barbaree, an LSU commit who recently won the U.S. Junior Amateur.
Also, Brad Dalke of Hobart, who will be attending the University of Oklahoma this fall, shot a 3-under 68 and is tied for fourth. See complete results here.