With a birdie at the last, Karrie Webb took the mid-day clubhouse lead on Friday at the KMPG Women’s PGA Championship, but it just wasn’t enough of an edge. Webb’s second round 71 put her at 7-under par for the tournament. When the day was over and everybody was in the house defending champion Inbee Park was alongside Webb at 7-under, but the rookie powerhouse, Sei Young Kim, playing behind Park, eagled the par-5 15th and pulled one shot ahead of the two veterans to take the overnight lead at 8-under par. I’m thinking Moving Day is going to be enormous fun!
Kim’s flawless second round comes as no surprise to me. She has an amazing game in her bag. With victories at the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic and the LOTTE Championship — the LOTTE win coming with an eagle from the fairway in a playoff against Inbee Park — and four additional top-10 finishes, Kim has wasted no time in staking her claim to a top spot on golf’s big stage.
The two shots that got Kim her LOTTE Championship victory are a reminder of this young rookie’s golf wizardry and suggest what kind of magic she could pull out of her bag over the coming 36 holes at the Women’s PGA Championship:
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As I anticipated, both Stacy Lewis and Inbee Park came creeping up the board today, although Park, who’s alongside Karrie Webb at 7-under, got a bit further than Lewis, who had to work hard to overcome the deficiency that a double on the 2nd created. Still, at 5-under Lewis is going into the weekend with a good look at the board, although she’ll have to play her way past Brooke Henderson and Suzann Pettersen, both at 6-under and sharing the 4th slot on the board.
I thought for a while today that Charley Hull was going to play her way to an overnight lead, but four bogeys on her last six holes slowed down Hull’s charge and left her in a pack of six players going into the weekend at 4-under and trailing Kim’s lead by four shots. We’ll see what Hull can put together tomorrow.
Suzann Pettersen seems to have finally found her game. Her second round 7-under 66 has set the standard for what’s possible on Saturday and that possibility puts every player who’s starting her third round at 1-under par or better within reach of Sei Young Kim’s lead. This raises some tantalizing possibilities in my mind.
Lexi Thompson, Cristie Kerr, Morgan Pressel and Mo Martin, all candidates for a spot on the United States Solheim Cup team, are going into the weekend within reach of the top of the leaderboard and a strong incentive to get there.
The same could be said of Caroline Hedwall, Charley Hull, Azahara Munoz, Anna Nordqvist and Sandra Gal who, in addition to Pettersen, are looking at spots on the European 2015 Solheim Cup team.
Watching these two groups of players compete for position will be a bit of a preview for what we’re going to see in full force at the St. Leon-Rot Golf Club in September.
Third round tee times begin at 7:30am, with the final group, Sei Young Kim and Karrie Webb, teeing off at 1:50pm. NBC will be providing live coverage of the Saturday and Sunday rounds at the KMPG Women’s PGA Championship, beginning both days at 3:00pm. You can follow the action live on the LPGA electronic leaderboard and ProGolfNow will provide ongoing commentary and updates as well.