Oh soars to contention in major

Su Oh
Su Oh of Australia leaves the seventh tee during the first round of the KPMG PGA Championship.

Australia’s Su Oh has made her best-ever start to a major with an opening 68 in tough conditions at Olympia Fields to put herself on the leaderboard at the second women’s major of the season, the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.

The 21-year-old Oh made four early birdies at the first, fourth, fifth and eighth holes to soar to the lead in the $US3.5 million tournament being played at the historic course outside Chicago.

But a bogey at the ninth followed by nine consecutive pars left her tied-fifth, just two shots behind first-round leaders Chella Choi, who carded five-under, and Amy Yang, who was five-under through 17 holes when weather shortened the day.

Oh, in her second full season on the LPGA Tour remains winless but is making strides under coach Cameron McCormick in Texas. She finished tied-eighth in this tournament last year, her best finish in a major.

“It was extremely difficult,’’ said the Melburnian afterward. “I mean, it was windy from the very beginning. I got off to an extremely good start, and I don’t think I played bad only the last nine holes. I think I played quite well, made a great par on 14 which was really good. Par’s a good score out there. I think I made the most of my 7.40 (am) tee time, but I mean it was still pretty windy when I went out there. It’s just a tough day in general.

“It’s a great golf course. I’ve never been here but it’s very historical. You’ve got to plot your way around. Usually on a par-five you’re looking for a birdie, but not on a golf course like this. Plot your way and if you give yourself an opportunity and make it then ‘yay’ but if you make par, that’s still good, I think.’’

World No. 16 Minjee Lee started with a solid, even-par 71. Queenslander Sarah Jane Smith, who is having a fine season, was one-under par through 16 holes and also playing well, but veteran Karrie Webb started with a six-over 77.

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