Sei Young Kim is saying bye-bye to the rest of the field at Thornberry Creek this weekend. She posted an 8-under, 64 on Saturday to get to 24-under and will have an eight shot lead with 18 holes left on Sunday.
"I was pretty solid," said Kim. "Another good round today. Yeah. After I turned the front nine wind is pretty calm, so was able to attack to the pins to make a lot of birdies."
Through 54 holes, Kim has made 24 birdies, an eagle and her lone mistake of the entire tournament was a double in round two. No bogeys so far.
Kim started her third round with two pars and then made eagle on the third. She really heated up after a birdie on nine. She added birdies on 11, 13, 14, 15 and 16 to build a seemingly insurmountable lead.
Kim has a serious chance to break the all-time 72-hole scoring record, which she owns along with Annika Sorenstam. Kim carded a 27-under to win the JTBC Founders Cup in 2016 and Annika Sorenstam carded her 27-under in 2001 at the Standard Register Ping. Sorenstam famously posted a 59 in round two of that tournament.
Kim matched the 54-hole scoring record, also Sorenstam's from 2001, at 24-under.
"It's an honor to have my name with Annika's," said Kim. "I used to watch Annika on television and it was my dream to play on the LPGA with her."
Amy Yang carded a 5-under, 67 and is alone in second place at 16-under. Lydia Ko, Anna Nordqvist and Emma Talley share third place at 15-under.
Lydia Ko Holes Out for Eagle to Get in Mix
Lydia Ko holed out for eagle on the par-5 15th hole to jump up to 15-under and is in the mix, although still nine shots back of Kim.
"I shot 6-under yesterday and I was seven shots behind the leader on Thursday and then I shot 6-under and I was still seven shots behind," explained a befuddled Ko. "It doesn't happen very often when that's the case. Sei Young is tearing up the whole golf course. There are so many low numbers out there with the whole field."
Ko holed out with a controlled 54-degree wedge from 86 yards out.
Ko posted her second straight round of 66. Her putter has been really strong over the last two days. She attempted 27 putts on Friday and 26 on Saturday.
Anna Nordqvist in Attack Mode
Anna Nordqvist's putter cooled a bit on the back nine after making four birdies on the front Saturday, but she still posted a 5-under, 67 and shares third at 15-under. She is nine shots back of Kim.
"Yeah, it's definitely attack mode this week and you got to make birdies," said Nordqvist. "I got off to a good start on the front nine and then just kept giving myself chance after chance. I had a lip-out on 10, 12, and 13, so kind of annoying."
Nordqvist made just one birdie on the back nine.
The Swede traditionally thrives at venues that demand a lot of birdies. She has won the Founders Cup and the ShopRite LPGA Classic, two tournaments where the winning score is usually approaching or above 20-under.
"Everyone loves making birdies. You have a lot of opportunity out here. Usually I like it a little bit more challenging and a little bit more where you really have to hit good golf shots, a little bit more penalizing. But, it's just great to see people making birdies. You have to shoot a low one tomorrow to be up there."
Nordqvist is looking for her fifth top ten of the season. Three of her four have come since mid-May.
54 Holes, No Bogeys for Jodi Ewart Shadoff
Believe it or not, Jodi Ewart Shadoff has done something that even Sei Young Kim hasn't this week. She has gone 54 holes without anything worse that a par. She has made 14 birdies and 40 pars through 54 holes and is in a tie for sixth at 14-under.
"It's really scorable out there," said Ewart Shadoff. "It's fun to play this course. The greens are rolling nice. There are a ton of birdies out there, so it's a lot of fun."
Kim Kaufman is also bogey-free through 54 holes at 11-under. That's 11 birdies and 43 pars.