Fresh off helping the U.S. to victory in the Curtis Cup, Hawaii golfers Kimberly Kim and Stephanie Kono shot to the top of the leaderboard in the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship yesterday in Indiana.
Kim, a former Big Island resident, fired a 5-under-par 66 to take the first-round lead, with Kono, a Punahou graduate, one stroke behind.
Kim reached the final of last year’s championship before falling to Jennifer Song. She opened this year’s event with six birdies and one bogey in the first round of stroke play at The Warren Course at Notre Dame. Her first-round total tied the second-lowest stroke-play score in the history of the tournament.
The second round of stroke play is scheduled for today, with the low 64 scorers advancing to the match-play bracket, which starts tomorrow.
The second and third rounds of match play will be Thursday, quarterfinal and semifinals Friday and a 36-hole championship Saturday.
Kono ended the day tied for second with Lizette Salas at 4-under 67. Kono, a UCLA junior, carded five birdies against one bogey.
Kim and Kono were members of the U.S. team that defeated Great Britain and Ireland to capture its seventh straight Curtis Cup on June 13.
The two are among seven golfers with Hawaii ties entered in the Public Links tournament. Twelve-year-old Punahou seventh-grader Allisen Corpuz enters today’s round tied for 32nd at 2 over par and Kauai High senior Kelli Oride is tied for 51st at 4 over.
Kyung Kim, a former Maui resident now living in Arizona, tied for 67th at 5 over. Punahou graduate Anna Jang of Aiea ended the first round tied for 109th at 9 over. Moanalua graduate Kristina Merkle was tied for 120th at 10 over.
Hawaii golfers have a long history of success in this tournament.
Lori Castillo won this event twice (1979, 1980) and Michelle Wie became the youngest winner when she captured the title as a 13-year-old in 2003. Kim has finished second twice in the event, in 2006 and 2009.