PGA TOUR Americas

Sei Young Kim leads JTBC Founders Cup

temp fix empty alt images for attachment
Sei Young Kim (Todd Warshaw/ Getty Images)

PHOENIX – Sei Young Kim found the afternoon wind merely refreshing on a hot day at Desert Ridge.

“It’s OK,” Kim said Friday after taking a two-stroke lead in the JTBC Founders Cup. “It’s not confusing to me because, if I have a lot of options, I didn’t think about it. I just see a target. It’s simple.”

The 23-year-old South Korean player has made it look simple, following her opening 9-under 63 with a 66 to break the tournament 36-hole record at 15-under 129.

“I feel not bad because, before the first round, I was like uncomfortable because I couldn’t trust myself,” Kim said. “But after this round, I got confidence.”

She made two eagles Friday. On the second, she hammered a 300-yard drive on the par-5 15th, hit a 165-yard, 5-iron approach that nearly bounced into the hole and made a 7-foot putt.

“I wasn’t missing the putt,” Kim said.

On the par-5 second, she ran in a 30-footer after holding the green from 200 yards with a cut 5-wood.

“It was good work,” Kim said.

She won three times last season and was the LPGA Tour’s rookie of the year. At No. 7 in the world, she’s in position for the last of South Korea’s four spots in the Rio Olympics.

Brittany Lang was second after a 68, also in the breezy afternoon.

“It was tough with the wind at times,” Lang said.

The 30-year-old former Duke player won the 2012 Manulife LPGA Classic in Canada for her lone tour title.

“You just have to stay aggressive,” Lang said. “The weather looks great. The course conditions are going to be great. You just have to take good shots, stay aggressive, and get a few putts to fall. Should be a fun weekend. There’s going to be a lot of birdies made. Got to go for it all.”

Jacqui Concolino and Italy’s Giulia Sergas were 12 under. Concolino shot a 64 to match 17-year-old U.S. Women’s Amateur champion Hannah O’Sullivan for the best round of the day. Sergas had a 68.

Sergas is working with Costantino Rocca. The former Italian star is with her in Arizona.

“He’s right there on my side, and I love it,” Sergas said. “We started to work together in January. He’s a wonderful person.”

The cut was at 3 under, one off the tour record set last year in the Manulife. Hall of Famer Karrie Webb, the 2011 and 2014 winner, dropped out along with second-ranked Inbee Park, Michelle Wie and Suzann Pettersen.

Gerina Piller (68) and Eun-Hee Ji (67) were four strokes back at 11 under. Paula Creamer (65) was another shot behind along with Ryann O’Toole (66), Paula Reto (67), Minjee Lee (69) and Karine Icher (67).

Canada’s Brooke Henderson is 7-under after a 69 on Friday. Fellow Canadians Maude-Aimee LeBlanc and Alena Sharp held a share of 64th at 3 under.

Hall of Famer Se Ri Pak and top-ranked Lydia Ko also were 7 under. Pak shot a 68 a day after saying she will retire at the end of the season. Ko had a 67.