LPGA Tour rookie Sei Young Kim shot even-par 72 on Friday to take the second-round lead at the Blue Bay LPGA in blustery conditions.
Kim, who leads the Louise Suggs Rookie of the Year race, sits atop the leaderboard at 2-under par and one shot ahead of a group of four including Suzann Pettersen, Candie Kung, Ryann O’Toole and Austin Ernst. Pettersen had the low round of the day, 3-under 69, to move from T22 to tied for second.
Only five players broke par on Friday and only the top-5 on the leaderboard are under par through 36 holes.
Kim said she thrives in the windy conditions and said she likes hitting a low cut. Her two victories this season came in similar breezy surroundings in the Bahamas and Hawaii. She had two birdies and two bogeys in her round of 72 on Friday and birdied the 18th hole to take the outright lead. Kim said she looked at the leaderboard and saw that she would draw Pettersen as a playing partner on Saturday and considers the veteran a player she looks up to.
“Yeah, today it’s very tough,” said Kim. “I think I play with Suzann tomorrow. If I play with her, it’s the first time, so I’m very looking forward. When I was young, I watched her.”
Kim said she set the goal at the beginning of her rookie season that she wanted to get three wins in her first year and she got two in her first eight starts. With just four events left on the schedule, Kim said she has struggled staying patient.
“I think good position now, good opportunity come to me,” said Kim. “So I want to catch this opportunity. But I have to be patient because the past couple tournament, I was like too greedy and then I couldn’t be patient.”
American Stacy Lewis (71-73) is in a tie for sixth and just two shots back at even-par. Rolex Rankings No. 1 Lydia Ko improved by two shots (77-75) and moved into a tie for 47th at 8-over par.