PATTAYA, Thailand (AP) In-kyung Kim of South Korea birdied her final hole to card a 1-over 73 and hold onto the lead by a stroke over Michelle Wie and Yani Tseng midway through the LPGA Thailand on Friday.
A day after shooting a record-tying 63 on the Pattaya Old Course at Siam Country Club, Kim struggled throughout the second round. She endured four bogeys on the front nine, earned her second and third birdies of the round on the 10th and 14th holes, dropped another shot on the 15th, then sank a 6-foot birdie putt to finish with an 8-under 136 total.
By the end, her three-shot lead to start the day was trimmed to one over the top-ranked Tseng (71) and Wie (68).
"I pushed myself hard in the front nine. I had no rhythm and made mistakes," Kim said.
"I didn't know why and I didn't know what to do. Maybe because of the pressure. But I played a solid back nine to get back to where I was. I didn't think about the lead," Kim added. "I am happy that I still have the lead even though it was not a great round."
Wie began five shots behind Kim, but birdied the first hole and kept chipping away at Kim's lead in a bogey-free round. She picked up two shots on the front nine, then successive birdies on 14 and 15 lifted the American into a tie for the lead at 7 under. But Wie could only par her last three holes, missing a two-foot birdie putt on 18.
Wie shared the day's best round of 68 with two other players, Karrie Webb, who was at 2 under, and Anna Nordqvist of Sweden, at 2 over.
"It was a good day but I was hot," Wie said. "This weekend I have to play well, not make errors and keep the energy level up."
Tseng, winner of the Women's Australian Open and Australian Ladies Masters in the last two weeks, overcame a double bogey on the 5th hole to settle for second again. She canceled out bogeys on the 11th and 14th with successive birdies on the 15th and 16th to join Kim and Wie in the lead, until Kim's superb finish.
American veteran Juli Inkster, tied for second with Tseng on Thursday, overcame three bogeys and a double bogey with a birdie finish for a 73 to be three strokes off the lead alongside compatriot Paula Creamer (7), Japan's Momoko Ueda (69), and South Korea's Na Yeon Choi (70).