Defending champ Sei Young Kim just one shot behind leaders at halfway point

January 29, 2016

By Amy Rogers / LPGA.com

NASSAU – For the second consecutive year, a rookie finds herself atop the leaderboard in the Bahamas.

Rookie Megan Khang climbed into a share of the lead Friday afternoon after posting a second round 5-under par, 68 to share the lead with Charley Hull and Haru Nomura at 8-under par. They lead a group tied for fourth at 7-under par, including defending champion Sei Young Kim.

Sei Young Kim, of South Korea, smiles after a birdie on the ninth hole during the second round of the LPGA Tour ANA Inspiration golf tournament at Mission Hills Country Club Friday, April 3, 2015 in Rancho Mirage, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Defending champion Sei Young Kim is looking good at the halfway point, sitting just one shot behind the leading trio in Bahamas.

While Khang may be new to the Tour, she’s no stranger to competing with the world’s best, having finished low amateur at the U.S. Women’s Open in a tie for 35th.

“I mean, I was confident in my game.  I just didn’t know how I was going to play right now being a rookie and under the circumstances.  But I’m just having so much fun out here, I just love it out here,” Khang said after her round. “It definitely will take some time to sink in but I think my game’s at a good place right now and I definitely think I can hold my own.  I’ve played in the Open a few times and they’re all there, all the pros are there, even like the best amateurs make it there.  So I think I can hold my own and it’s going to take a while for it to sink in after two days.”

Seven players shared the lead Friday morning, but an increase in wind and change in direction thinned out the crowd. One of the victim was Korean American Alison Lee, who slid nine spots into a tie for 10th after an even par second round.

Nomura remained calm and steady on day two, still in search of her first win on the LPGA Tour. The first round co-leader is one of only two from the pack of seven that led Friday morning to remain atop the leaderboard at day’s end. Nomura carded a second round 3-under par 70.

Just two-back of the lead, Paula Creamer led for much of the morning, going out in 3-under 33. But she struggled on the inward nine, finishing with two bogeys and a double before closing with a birdie at the last. Creamer posted a 1-under par, 72 due in large part to her struggles on the greens, making it around in 32 putts. But overall, Creamer was happy with her play on Friday after the work she’s put in with new instructor Gary Gilchrist. She began working with Gilchrist during the off-season after 15 years with David Whelan.

“I just think it’s a great fit,” Creamer told the media. “I love the way he teaches the game, love the way how he gets in and can show me, and he’s definitely made it very fun for me right now.  Made a lot of changes, but they’re worth it and I believe in it.”

Cristie Kerr posted the low round of the Tournament on Friday with an 8-under par, 65 to tie the Tournament record previously set by Paula Creamer in 2014. Kerr shot a career low 61 at the 2006 SemGroup Championship.

The cutline fell at 2-over par, sending home players like Michelle Wie (+3), first round co-leader and rookie Ashlan Ramsey (+4), Vicki Hurst (+4) and Yani Tseng (+6).

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