Sei Young Kim soars to front with two eagles

March 18, 2016
Sei Young Kim, of South Korea, hits her tee shot on the 11th hole during the second round of the KPMG Women's PGA golf championship at Westchester Country Club, Friday, June 12, 2015, in Harrison, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

FILE — Sei Young Kim made not one, but two eagles on Friday to jump to the front.

PHOENIX (AP) — Sei Young Kim made two eagles in a 6-under 66 round on Friday in the JTBC Founders Cup to take a two-stroke lead into the weekend.

The 23-year-old South Korean player had a tournament-record 15-under 129 total at Desert Ridge’s Wildfire Golf Club. She opened with a bogey-free 63 on Thursday.

“I feel not bad because, before the first round, I was like uncomfortable because I couldn’t trust myself,” Kim said. “But after this round, I got confidence.”

In breezy, hot afternoon conditions, she hammered a 300-yard drive on the par-5 15th, hit a 165-yard approach that nearly bounced into the hole and made a 7-foot putt for her second eagle.

“I wasn’t missing the putt,” Kim said.

On the par-5 second, she made a 30-foot eagle putt.

Kim won three times last season and was the LPGA Tour’s rookie of the year. At No. 7 in the world, she’s in position for the last of South Korea’s four spots in the Rio Olympics.

Brittany Lang was second after a 68, also in the afternoon. The 30-year-old former Duke player won the 2012 Manulife LPGA Classic in Canada for her lone tour title.

“You just have to stay aggressive,” Lang said. “The weather looks great. The course conditions are going to be great. You just have to take good shots, stay aggressive, and get a few putts to fall. Should be a fun weekend. There’s going to be a lot of birdies made. Got to go for it all.”

Jacqui Concolino and Italy’s Giulia Sergas were 12 under. Concolino shot a 64 to match 17-year-old U.S. Women’s Amateur champion Hannah O’Sullivan for the best round of the day. Sergas had a 68.

The cut was at 3 under, one off the tour record set last year in the Manulife. Hall of Famer Karrie Webb, the 2011 and 2014 winner, dropped out along with second-ranked Inbee Park, Michelle Wie and Suzann Pettersen.

Gerina Piller (68) and Eun-Hee Ji (67) were four strokes back at 11 under. Paula Creamer (65) was another shot behind along with Ryann O’Toole (66), Paula Reto (67), Minjee Lee (69) and Karine Icher 67).

Stacy Lewis was 9 under after a 65. She won in 2013 and finished second the last two years.

“It was the putter,” Lewis said. “I made a little putter switch from yesterday.”

Mi Hyang Lee followed her tournament-record 62 with a 75 to drop into a tie for 25th at 7 under. She’s 2 over on her last 27 holes after playing her first nine Thursday in 9 under.

Hall of Famer Se Ri Pak and top-ranked Lydia Ko also were 7 under. Pak shot a 68 a day after saying she will retire at the end of the season. Ko had a 67.

“A few more putts dropped than yesterday,” Ko said.

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