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Kim Hyo-Joo hits record-breaking 61 in Evian Championship
South Korea teenager Kim Hyo-Joo has entered the record books with a superb nine-under-par round of 61 on the first day of the Evian Championship in France.
The 19-year-old hit 10 birdies for the lowest round in a major – and is now four shots ahead of Australia’s Karrie Webb – with Kim’s compatriot Hur-Mi-Jung a shot further back.
A favourite going into the event, US Open champion Michelle Wie retired from action after 13 holes of her comeback event due to the same finger injury which has kept her out of action for the last month.
Kim’s impressive round shatters the 62s recorded by Finland’s Minea Blomqvist at the 2004 Women’s British Open, as well as eclipsing that of Lorena Ochoa at the 2006 Kraft Nabisco Championship.
No male golfer has ever scored lower than 63 in a major event.
Opening her account with a birdie at the first hole, Kim went on to pick up strokes at the third, fourth, sixth and ninth as she went out in 30, before coming home in 31 with birdies at 11, 13, 14, 16 and 18.
"I didn't come here with too high expectations," she told BBC Sport. "I like hard courses, I just wanted to play well and I putted great."
Kim was tied for fourth in this same event back in 2012, before it became a major. Webb, 39, who won that event (then known as the Evian Masters) in its pre-major days in 2006, made eight birdies of her own.
"The difference today was my putting," she said. "I changed putter to one I used about 12 years ago and suddenly started holing a few."
Elsewhere, defending champion Suzann Pettersen or Norway is further behind in fourth place on four under, while English veteran Dame Laura Davies is the highest-placed Brit on one under.
Michelle Wie, who was hoping for better in the event before re-aggravating her injury, now wants to make sure this isn’t her last appearance on a golf course in 2014. She said: "I should have stopped earlier but I was having so much fun out there.
"I wanted to keep playing. But it got to the point where it was too painful."