HARRISON, N.Y. - Whatever it is that makes a major championship distinctive showed up Friday at the KPMG Women's PGA. Long Islander Kelly Shon, playing her first major as a pro, was like almost everyone else in having a rougher time in Round 2 than Round 1, and a hard time explaining why.
"I didn't feel like the course played too tough. I think I might have lost some steam. I don't know, I just didn't play very well," she said after having been cheered on again by neighbors from Port Washington. Those chants were about the only similarity between Thursday and Friday for the 23-year-old LPGA Tour rookie, who is at 1 over par after shooting 3-over 76 to just make the cut. Most players at Westchester Country Club were like her, just trying to hold their places.
A major exception was Sei Young Kim, 22, of Korea. She is best known for having chipped in to force a playoff and then winning with a 154-yard eagle shot this season and she went ahead Friday with a 40-yard pitch for eagle on the par-5 15th. Kim shot 5-under 68 to take the lead at 8 under, one ahead of two-time champion Inbee Park, who also shot 68, and Karrie Webb (71). Kim, Park and Suzann Pettersen's 66 were the only rounds in the 60s -- fewer than half the sub-70 rounds Thursday (seven).
"Conditions were more difficult than they were yesterday," Kim said through an interpreter. "But I made a couple of approach shots that led to birdies and I was able to play better."
Still, there is something about a major that makes consistency difficult. Shon shot 2-under 71 Thursday and actually made it onto the leader board early Friday, getting to 3 under and tying for seventh. Then she was affected by the karma that claimed most of the field.
Pins were in more difficult spots and greens were drier and faster than Thursday. Still, Shon said of the many higher scores, "I'm a little surprised." Her best guess was that the wind came from a new direction, making the par 5s tougher.
She actually hit more fairways and greens in regulation (12 apiece) than she had Thursday (11 and nine, respectively). She did take seven more putts (32 to 25) and was 0-for-2 in sand saves as opposed to 4-for-4 Thursday. Mostly, though, Friday was harder for just about everybody because that just happens in majors.
So Shon was working hard on a nearly deserted driving range late Friday afternoon while Kim, Park and Pettersen were playing.
Kim smiled when she was reminded about her double-jolted win in Hawaii this year, capped by the playoff-ending eagle. "I've only watched the replay just once, but I really enjoyed it," she said.
Shon recognizes that just enduring to play the weekend of a major is a triumph.
"I'm disappointed, but hopeful. I feel I can shoot a lot better than I did the last couple days," she said. "It's fun. It's more fun when you're playing better, but it's fun."