Sei Young Kim takes third-round lead in Hawaii

The China Post - - SPORTS - BY ANN MILLER

Sei Young Kim has an­other chance to show she can pro­tect a fi­nal-round lead.

The 22-year-old Kim shot a 2-un­der 70 on Fri­day in wind gust­ing to 30 mph to top the South Korean-dom­i­nated leader­board in the LPGA Tour’s Lotte Cham­pi­onship.

Kim ral­lied to win in the Ba­hamas in Fe­bru­ary in her sec­ond start as an LPGA Tour mem­ber and came from be­hind in all four of her wins on the Korean LPGA Tour. But two weeks ago, she had a four-shot ad­van­tage go­ing into the fi­nal round of the ANA In­spi­ra­tion and fin­ished fourth in the ma­jor cham­pi­onship.

“I’m go­ing to en­joy and try to have a good time,” she said through an in­ter­preter. “In the fi­nal round of the ANA In­spi­ra­tion I was un­der a lot of pres­sure. I felt a lot of nerves.

“To­mor­row, I’m go­ing to try to do the same thing I’ve done the past three days here and try to en­joy the round. I think I’m go­ing to be able to come out with a dif­fer­ent out­come.”

I.K. Kim was a stroke back at Ko Olina af­ter a 71, and third- ranked In­bee Park was an­other shot be­hind af­ter a 69. Jenny Shin was fourth at 8 un­der af­ter a 70, and Chella Choi made it a South Korean sweep of the top five places, shoot­ing a 71 to get to 7 un­der.

I.K. Kim en­tered the round it for the lead, trailed by as many as three be­fore catch­ing up, then bo­geyed the fi­nal hole to fall back. She has won three times on the LPGA Tour, but the last came in 2010.

“It means a lot to me. I’ve been play­ing well the last few weeks and work­ing very hard this off­sea­son,” she said. “Where I’m at now I’m very com­fort­able ac­tu­ally.”

Park shot 69, with just one bo­gey. She has won 13 times, in­clud­ing six ma­jors, and fin­ished in the top five in the event the last two years.

“I think the most im­por­tant thing to win the tour­na­ment is putting,” said Park, the win­ner this year in Sin­ga­pore. “Clutch putts, putts in­side 10 feet, that’s prob­a­bly the most im­por­tant thing in the fi­nal round.”

Amer­i­can Paula Creamer (72) and Ja­pan’s Ai Miyazato ( 71) were 6 un­der. De­fend­ing cham­pion Michelle Wie had five bo­geys and four birdies in a 73 to fall eight shots back in her home event.


Sei Young Kim, of South Korea, watches her drive off the 16th tee in the third round of the LPGA Lotte Cham­pi­onship golf tour­na­ment on Fri­day, April 17.

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