INCHEON, South Korea (AP) — South Korea’s Song-Hee Kim birdied four holes in a row on the front nine Saturday and finished with her second straight 4-under 68 for a one-stroke lead over defending champion Na Yeon Choi in the LPGA Hana Bank Championship.
Winless in 73 LPGA Tour starts, Kim finished second in the LPGA Championship in late June, then lost a playoff to Choi the following week in the Jamie Farr Classic.
“I played really well in the early part of the round, but I struggled with my shots in the last part of the round,” Kim said. “I managed to overcome the adversity with my putting. I think I can play well tomorrow if I play the way I played today.”
Choi also shot a 68 on Sky 72 Golf Club’s Ocean Course.
“I have confidence right now, and I have a good feeling about my game,” Choi said. “I felt that I lost focus on the last couple holes, so I’m going to go to the range and hit some balls and get more focus and confidence.”
Vicky Hurst was third at 6 under after a 70.
Juli Inkster, the 50-year-old Hall of Famer who bogeyed the final hole last week in Malaysia to finish a stroke behind winner Jimin Kang, was three strokes back at 5 under after a 68. Inkster is trying to become the oldest LPGA Tour winner.
“I think I’m over last week,” Inkster said. “I’ve played so long out here, I just kind of let it go. What it did tell me is I’m playing well, and I can compete out here.”
Second-ranked South Korean star Jiyai Shin was 3 under after a 68, and No. 1 Cristie Kerr was another stroke back after her second straight 71.
Michelle Wie shot a 73, leaving her 1 under.