HARRISON, N.Y. - This is all supposed to be new for Kelly Shon, a rookie on the LPGA Tour. Still, toward the end of a solid first round in a major as a pro, she had the distinct feeling that she had been here before. In fact, it felt like home.
Westchester Country Club, site of the KPMG Women's PGA, is a lot like many of the Long Island courses that she played when she was growing up in Port Washington. It did not matter that she never had played this layout before this week. She played yesterday like it was her backyard, six times sinking putts of 3 feet or longer for par and shooting a 2-under-par 71.
Toward the end of the five-hour, 15-minute round -- in the last group of the day, before making birdie on No. 18 to move within five strokes of leader Jenny Shin -- she reflected on the scene to her caddie, Rick Kropf. "The sun was setting, it was somewhere on the back nine. I was actually telling him, playing at a place like this at a time like that, it reminded me of a lot of great memories from years back," Shon said. "Just the air, the grass. It was all reminiscent."
So was the putting stroke that made her a local junior champion, high school star and Princeton recruit. On the eighth and 16th holes, she blasted out of bunkers and saved pars from 4 and 6 feet, respectively.
"Even for playing so late in the afternoon, the greens were rolling really well. I just tried to roll the ball. Last week was a little frustrating because I felt I left a few putts out there," she said, referring to a tour event in Ontario, Canada. "It was good to see the ball go in the hole again."
Her high point occurred on the par-5 12th, when her bunker shot fell 20 feet short of the hole. But she made a birdie putt to go under par, where she remained the rest of the round. From a spot down the fairway, she heard a few friends chanting, "Kel-lee!"
"They did that a few times. It was great," she said.
She is joined in the field this week by former tour pros Jean Bartholomew (6 over) of Garden City and Liz Caron (7 over), a teaching pro at Mill River in Oyster Bay.