Aussie Kim shares halfway lead at Meijer LPGA Classic

By | June 15, 2024

Aussie Kim shares halfway lead at Meijer LPGA Classic

Grace Kim shot a seven-under-par second-round 65 to move into a share of the lead in Michigan. (Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS) Credit: AAP

Australian golfer Grace Kim has claimed her second halfway lead of the year following a sizzling second round at the Meijer LPGA Classic.

Kim carded a seven-under-par 65 to join American Ally Ewing atop the leaderboard at Belmont’s Blythefield Country Club in Michigan.

Ewing scorched around in 63 to move into a tie with Kim at 11 under for the championship.

Kim started her round on the back nine and piled up three birdies over her first five holes.

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After bogeying No.17, she bounced back with an eagle at the par-5 18th and added a final bang with three straight birdies from the sixth.

Kim said the conditions changed drastically for her after playing Thursday’s round in heavy wind.

“I was the second-lowest scorer of (Thursday) in the afternoon, and that says a lot about how tough the conditions were,” she said.

“But to be able to pull through and make a few more birdies, back-to-back birdies to finish my round, very much topped it off.”

Ewing’s bogey-free round also began with three birdies over her first five holes before she chipped in for eagle at the par-5 eighth.

She sank four more birdies coming home, including a short putt at the par-3 11th after an excellent tee shot.

“You can make a lot of birdies out here,” Ewing said.

“At the same time, I approach a golf course with what it gives me, so I try to play smart but aggressive golf.”

The 31-year-old, who has three LPGA wins to her name, found her form again after tying for third at the US Women’s Open two weeks ago.

“Any time you get a good finish in any tournament, (not least) a major … definitely helps your confidence when you carry it over,” Ewing said.

“The golf ball doesn’t know what I did last week, but it’s still important to attack it but also have confidence with it.”

Kim will be hoping to hold her nerve better over the weekend than she did at the LA Open in April when she let slip a four-shot 36-hole buffer and eventually slumped to a tie for 25th behind triumphant compatriot Hannah Green.

She and Ewing enjoy a two-stroke buffer over Denmark’s Nanna Koerstz Madsen (64) and Korean Narin An (68) at nine under.

Canadian Brooke M Henderson, a two-time winner of this event, shot 69 on Friday and is in a tie for fifth at eight under with Lauren Hartlage (69), Allisen Corpuz (68), South Korea’s Jin Hee Im (65) and China’s Jing Yan (68).

World No.1 Nelly Korda couldn’t recover from her 76 on day one. She shot a second-round five-under 67 but missed the cut line of two under by a stroke.

“I’m very pleased with the way that I struck the ball today off the tee, something I’ve been struggling with this year,” Korda said.

“This was by far the best I’ve hit it off the tee, so a little bit of positivity going into (the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship).”

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