Pinehurst No. 8 | Pinehurst, N.C. | Aug. 27-29, 2018
Aug. 27, 2018
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BERMINGHAM ON TOP THROUGH FIRST ROUND
The first-round of the 2018 LPGA T&CP National Championship got off to a hot start on Monday at Pinehurst No. 8, with afternoon temperatures hitting the 90s. The heat was no problem for Long Beach, California native Jennifer Bermingham as she was the only player across all three divisions to shoot under par on Monday with a one-under 71. Bermingham holds a one-shot lead in the Championship division over Jimin Kang (Scottsdale, Ariz.) and Seul-Ki Park (Winchester, Mass.).
“I hit it really good, I putted really good,” Bermingham said of her first round. “It’s nice to be here. I really enjoy being a T&CP member and to be playing at the National Championship means a lot to me, so I’m really happy to be here and it gives me some extra motivation to play well.”
The top eight finishers in the Championship division will go on to represent the LPGA T&CP in the 2019 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, one of five major championships on the LPGA Tour, which will be held at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Minnesota.
Bermingham qualified for the 2016 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship where she made the cut and said she has been itching to play in the major championship again. “I want to qualify,” Bermingham said. “I want to be in the top eight.”
The LPGA T&CP National Championship was originally organized in 1983 to provide additional playing opportunities for LPGA Teaching and Club Professionals. The three-day competition has since grown to become recognized as the premier tournament for women golf professionals in the world. The tournament features three divisions: Championship (6,292 yards), Challenge (5,972) and Senior (50+, 5,710 yards). The field will be cut to the Top 70 and ties after 36 holes.
The 54-hole, stroke-play Championship is being held on the Tom Fazio-designed Pinehurst No. 8 course for the third-time in event history and the first since 2008.
CHAMPIONSHIP DIVISION LEADERBOARD
KANG MAKES LPGA T&CP NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP DEBUT
Two-time LPGA Tour winner Jimin Kang (Scottsdale, Ariz.) is no stranger to competition, however she was a newbie on Monday playing in her first-ever LPGA T&CP National Championship. Kang was two-under on the front nine at Pinehurst No. 8, with one slip-up double bogey on No. 16 she finished even par and just one shot off the first-round Championship division lead.
In 2013, Kang was forced to take time off from golf and she summarized her experience simply on Monday: “I was misdiagnosed, and I was over-medicated. I couldn’t even talk or walk. I almost died.”
While Kang is healthy now, it’s been a long road to recovery and she said she needs to get stronger to accomplish her goal of returning to the LPGA Tour. “This is one of the tournaments I wanted to play in to test myself. To see if my strength was there to do it. I need to get stronger still. I’m learning to listen to my body, but sometimes it’s hard.”
Kang has kept busy this season, playing in five LPGA Tour events, and she was clear about three goals she has for her future: play on the LPGA Tour again, finish in the top eight at the LPGA T&CP National Championship, and get her LPGA Class A teaching certification. She then noted, “my goal is to play decent golf first, and I know the result will come afterwards.”
PINEHURST NATIVE LEADS WAY IN CHALLENGE DIVISION
Defending champion in the Challenge division, Charlaine Hirst (Pinehurst, N.C.) picked up where she left off on Monday with a 4-over 76 to lead the division by two strokes. Hirst is a Teaching Professional at the nearby Country Club of Whispering Pines and estimated she’s played just two rounds of golf all year, so was quite happy with the first day’s results.
CHALLENGE DIVISION LEADERBOARD
REIGNING SENIOR DIVISION CHAMP OFF TO GOOD START
North Carolina native Cathy Johnston-Forbes (Kitty Hawk, N.C.) got off to a solid start in her title defense with a 1-over 73 on Monday morning, just one shot behind first-round co-leaders Barbara Moxness (Edina, Minn.) and Maggie Will (Richmond, Va.).
“It’s fun,” Johnston-Forbes said about returning as the defending champion. “I felt like I had good local knowledge being from North Carolina that helped me last year. I haven’t played this course though, just one time, so I knew I had a challenge today. It’s fun to come back to this event and feel like I have something new in front of me.”
In 2017, Johnston-Forbes won the Senior division, in her first time competing in the category. At the 2017 Senior LPGA Championship she finished T9 on The Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort.
Marjorie Jones (New York, N.Y.) the Head Professional/Director of Instruction at The Golf Club at Chelsea Piers, had a hole-in-one on Monday at Pinehurst No. 8 on the par-3 fifth hole en route to a first-round 76.
The top five finishers in the Senior division will qualify for the 2019 Senior LPGA Championship at the French Lick Resort as well as any competitors over the age of 45 who finish in the top 10 in the Championship division.
SENIOR DIVISION LEADERBOARD
Jimin Kang, on her even par round:
“It’s been a while since I’ve played in competition. I really enjoyed it. It’s a learning process. At the same time, I was trying to figure out these greens during the round. I won’t complain about my round. If I can improve tomorrow, then it will definitely show that I learned something today.”
Ashley Grier, on playing in the 2018 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship:
“I was overwhelmed with all the messages I got leading up to it. I didn’t score great, but I feel like I hit the ball well, and I handled the difficulty of the course better than I expected. It gave me confidence knowing that I can still do it. This is a great event, it’s cool they give out the exemptions. I look forward to staying patient and making it back again.”
2017 Championship division winner, Wendy Doolan (+4), on her first experience at Pinehurst No. 8:
“The course is fantastic. It’s a great challenge to get the ball close to the hole. I’m looking forward to another opportunity tomorrow.”
Cathy Johnston-Forbes, on her strategy for Pinehurst No. 8:
“I played well, I hit a lot of good shots into greens. I didn’t drive the ball well, so I hit 3-wood most of the day, I had a few wayward drives. I really just tried to play smart.”
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