BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Last night, I stood waiting on the next shuttle alongside South Korea. I remember thinking, “What happened to them? Surely the talent pool hasn’t run dry.”
Not 24 hours later, South Korea reminded us once again while it is a global force in golf. The South Koreans’ 16-under 128 total on Day 2 shattered the previous record of 134 held by the U.S. South Korea shot 1 over in the first round.
“We were expecting to play well after our practice rounds,” Ji-Hee Kim said, “but not like this.”
Kim birdied six of her first eight holes and went on to shoot 63, tying the record set by Paraguay’s Julieta Granada in 2004. Jung-Eun Han posted a 65, and like the U.S. on Day 1, the South Koreans threw out a 70.
“I was back and forth watching,” said Canadian captain Doug Roxburgh, whose team played with the Koreans. “They played the par 3s unbelievably. And, they made a bunch more birdies. It was perfect scoring conditions. You couldn’t get a bad lie. They certainly took advantage of it. That is a record that will stand for a while.”
The U.S. trails South Korea by one stroke at 14 under. Jessica Korda led the Americans with a 6-under 66. Germany is alone in third at 11 under.
South Korea has won this championship once (1996) and has been runner-up twice (1994, 2000). The South Korean players this year range in age from 16 to 18. There are 45 players from South Korea competing on the LPGA.