THE WOODLANDS, Texas (AP) — A Lim Kim birdied the final two holes for a 7-under 65 and the lead Friday in the suspended second round of the rain-delayed Chevron Championship.
Thirty-one players were unable to finish the round before dark in the first women’s major tournament of the season, with the event in its first year in suburban Houston after a decades-long run in the California desert.
Kim won the last LPGA Tour major held in the Houston area, the 2020 U.S. Women’s Open at Champions Golf Club. The South Korean player said she isn’t sure why she’s played so well in this area, but that she thinks it’s a great city.
After opening with a 71 on Thursday at The Club at Carlton Woods, she had eight birdies with just one bogey Friday to reach 8-under 136. Finishing on the front nine, the 27-year-old just missed an eagle on the par-4 ninth when her second shot landed mere inches from the hole before she tapped it in.
“I think front is … easier, more than the back nine,” she said.
Asked to recount some of her best shots Friday minutes after wrapping up the round, she was at a loss.
“I already forgot,” she said. “I don’t know.”
The remainder of the second round will wrap up Saturday morning after the start Friday was delayed two hours after more than 2 inches of rain fell overnight.
Americans Lilia Vu and Megan Khang were tied for second, a stroke behind. Khang shot a 67, and Vu had a 69.
Vu was great on the front nine with four birdies, including three straight on Nos. 7-9. She struggled some after that, with three bogeys on the back nine.
Khang had five birdies without a bogey, finishing just minutes before play was suspended because of darkness.
“I’m super thrilled,” Khang said. “I mean, hole 2 gave me a little bit of a struggle, and then coming down the stretch in the dark, 9 was kind of a little tricky chip.”
Vu is looking toward a second victory of her career after the Honda LPGA Thailand in February.
Vu, who didn’t make the cut at this event last year, believes she’s grown a lot and is now better equipped to deal with adversity.
“I try to remind myself that it’s a really tough week,” she said. “Everybody is going to make mistakes. It’s just how I come back from it, and then just try and make birdie the next hole and just let it go. It takes a lot out of me.”
Patty Tavatanakit and Nelly Korda were tied for fourth at 6 under. Tavatanakit had seven birdies, including on the last two holes to shoot a 67.
World No. 2 Korda had five birdies and three bogeys in a 70. Korda was disappointed that she missed some putts in the second round.
“You try to minimize your mistakes as much as possible,” she said. “I was punching the air a couple times after my two three-putts, which those are kind of stupid mistakes, but you just kind of have to stay mentally tough and know that there are some birdie opportunities, as well.”
Korda is fully healthy after missing four months and a lot of momentum last year with a blood clot in her arm that required surgery. She said the rain drastically changed the way the course played Friday.
“It was very wet out there, a lot of mud balls, and the greens were really soft as well compared to (Thursday),” she said. “Two rounds and two kind of completely different golf courses, so it was fun.”
Tavatanakit, who is from Thailand and won the event in 2021, said its odd to be playing this tournament in Texas.
“It just feels like it’s a new major, it’s a new course, so I treat it a little differently, I think,” she said. “Everything is just fresh. It feels more like we’re not playing the Chevron Championship just because it’s like the grass and everything is so East Coast. So, it’s just a little different.”
Taiwan’s Peiyun Chien, who shot a 67 to lead after the first round, was 5 under with four holes left.
A couple of high-profile players were in danger of missing the cut. Top-ranked Lydia Ko was tied for 78th place at 3 over with two holes to play.
American Lexi Thompson was tied for 66th at 2 over, also with two holes left. She said Wednesday that she was struggling with a sore right wrist after hitting too much at home in preparation for the tournament.
Defending champion Jennifer Kupcho missed the cut with rounds of 72 and 78.
DIVOTS: Inbee Park announced on Instagram she gave birth to her first child Friday, a girl. Park has not played since the Women’s British Open last summer. … American Christina Kim waded calf deep into murky water for a shot on the 15th hole. She made a bogey.
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