Sei Young Kim makes 2 eagles, leads JTBC Founders Cup

Sei Young Kim makes 2 eagles, leads JTBC Founders Cup

Published Mar. 19, 2016 2:07 a.m. ET

PHOENIX (AP) Sei Young Kim found the afternoon wind merely refreshing on a hot day at Desert Ridge.

''It's OK,'' Kim said Friday after taking a two-stroke lead in the JTBC Founders Cup. ''It's not confusing to me because, if I have a lot of options, I didn't think about it. I just see a target. It's simple.''

The 23-year-old South Korean player has made it look simple, following her opening 9-under 63 with a 66 to break the tournament 36-hole record at 15-under 129.


''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.''

She made two eagles Friday. On the second, she hammered a 300-yard drive on the par-5 15th, hit a 165-yard, 5-iron approach that nearly bounced into the hole and made a 7-foot putt.

''I wasn't missing the putt,'' Kim said.

On the par-5 second, she ran in a 30-footer after holding the green from 200 yards with a cut 5-wood.

''It was good work,'' Kim said.

She 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 breezy afternoon.

''It was tough with the wind at times,'' Lang said.

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.

Sergas is working with Costantino Rocca. The former Italian star is with her in Arizona.

''He's right there on my side, and I love it,'' Sergas said. ''We started to work together in January. He's a wonderful person.''

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).

Creamer is working with instructor Gary Gilchrist after leaving longtime coach David Whelan.

''I'm excited. I love what I'm doing,'' Creamer said. ''I really believe in his philosophy of teaching me. I think he's brought the kid out of me, that's for sure.''

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.''

O'Sullivan was tied for 17th at 8 under. She also eagled the 15th, hitting a 3-wood into the light wind from 223 yards to 2 1/2 feet.

''I had the opportunity to play in two LPGA majors last year and I made the cut in both of those,'' O'Sullivan said. ''I just take what I can from both of those experiences and apply it to today.''

She's a high school senior in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler.

''We're on spring break,'' O'Sullivan said. ''I love school, but I'd rather be out here.''

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.