LPGA Lotte Championship: Hyo Joo Kim grabs 3-shot edge

First-round leader Hannah Green of Australia slipped to a tie for 17th at 2 under after a 4-over 76.

FILE PHOTO: Hyo Joo Kim sits at 10-under 134 through two rounds at Hoakalei Country Club. Australia's Sarah Kemp holds second place at 7 under following a 69.   -  GETTY IMAGES

South Korea's Hyo Joo Kim carded her second consecutive 5-under-par 67 on Thursday to grab a three-shot lead at the midpoint of the Lotte Championship in Ewa Beach, Hawaii.

Hyo Joo Kim sits at 10-under 134 through two rounds at Hoakalei Country Club. Australia's Sarah Kemp holds second place at 7 under following a 69.

Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn (second-round 68) and South Korea's Haeji Kang (70) are tied for third at 6 under.

Two South Koreans, A Lim Kim (67) and Na Rin An (67), share fifth place at 5 under.

The group tied for seventh at 4 under features Janie Jackson (72), India's Aditi Ashok (73), Scotland's Gemma Dryburgh (73) and South Korea's Hye-Jin Choi (70).

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Hyo Joo Kim opened and closed her bogey-free round with birdies. She is seeking her fourth career LPGA tournament title.

"I'm satisfied I played the same score and bogey-free round (just) as yesterday, but ... I'm (more) satisfied with today's play than yesterday's," she said. "Of course, there was a mistake. But the reason why that I'm very satisfied is that it's a smaller mistake than yesterday. ...

"The wind was fine on the front nine this morning. There was strong wind when I turned into back nine, so it made a high level of difficulty. But I think when it's windy, (the) front nine course (is) affected by wind more than (the) back nine. So I think I had a little luck that the wind blew in my back nine."

Kemp capped her bogey-free day by chipping in for birdie at the par-4 14th hole. She is chasing her first LPGA victory.

"I had two (chip-ins) yesterday and I couldn't believe that I had another one today," Kemp said Thursday. "Yeah, my caddie sort of joked and he's like, 'I'll just hit you just short on most of these then.'"

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First-round leader Hannah Green of Australia slipped to a tie for 17th at 2 under after a 4-over 76.

Defending champion Lydia Ko of New Zealand is tied for 33rd at even par following a 75.

The 10th edition of the event is being played at Hoakalei Country Club for the first time. It was held at Kapolei Golf Club last year following eight years at Ko Olina Golf Club.

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