SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. -- All eyes were on Inbee Park. The world No. 1 has won five tournaments this year and is the hottest golfer on the LPGA circuit right now. But nobody saw her South Korean compatriot, Ha-Neul Kim, coming, and she took the spotlight on day one of the U.S. Women's Open at Sebonack.
Kim, who is ranked 44th in the world, hopped over the world's best at the end of round one with a birdie on the par-5 eighth and fininished with a 6-under-par 66 on Thursday.
That gave her a one-stroke lead over Park heading into Friday's second round.
Kim came out with a bogey-less round with birdies on one, four, six, eight, 13 and 18. Starting on the back nine, Kim went 2-under over her first nine holes and went 4-under on the front. She is looking to make her mark in a big way on the American Tour.
Park, who shot a 5-under 67, is looking for her sixth win of the season, fresh off of a win at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship.
Also starting on the back nine, Park had six birdies on the day and one bogey, using a stretch of three birdies on holes one, two, and four. Her bogey came on the par-4, 388-yard sixth hole, where she got caught in the rough.
Sebonack was quickly building a reputation as a difficult, long course, but the USGA threw its golfers a curve, shortening the lengths of the holes. A majority of the golfers were preparing for a longer course, practicing off different tees.
Sweden's Caroline Hedwall, ranked No. 29, was tied with Park going onto her last hole of the day, the ninth, when she bogeyed. It was one of four bogeys on the day for her. But her eight birdies put her at 4-under, tied for third with three other golfers. She is joined by I.K. Lizette Salas, Anna Nordqvist, and I.K. Kim, who bogeyed her last hole of the day.
Turning heads as much as Park recently is 16-year-old New Zealand prodigy and top amateur in the world, Lydia Ko, who shot an even-par 72 in the first round of her second appearance at the U.S. Open. A year ago, Ko became the youngest woman to ever and the first amateur since 1969 to win an LPGA tour event at the CN Canadian Women's Open.
With a projected cut of 3-over, Michelle Wie (8-over) and former U.S. Open Champ Se Ri Pak (6-over) will have to scramble on day two to make it to the weekend.