A Lim Kim of South Korea piled up eight birdies to shoot a 7-under-par 65 and move atop the leaderboard at the Chevron Championship, the first major of the LPGA season, when play was suspended due to darkness on Friday in The Woodlands, Texas.
Tee times were delayed a total of two hours Friday morning after the Jack Nicklaus Signature Course at The Club at Carlton Woods received more than 2 inches of rain overnight. Most golfers in the field completed their second rounds, but 31 will return to the course Saturday morning to finish up.
Kim’s 65 was the round of the week thus far and brought her to 8-under 136 for the championship. Megan Khang (67 on Friday) and Lilia Vu (69) are tied for second at 7 under, while Nelly Korda (70) and Thailand’s Patty Tavatanakit (67) are tied for fourth at 6 under.
First-round leader Peiyun Chien of Taiwan was at 5 under and had completed 14 holes of her round when play was suspended. She was tied with Angel Yin (14 holes), Canada’s Brooke M. Henderson (17 holes) and Allisen Corpuz (completed 67) at 5 under.
Kim is no stranger to the major stage. Her only title on the LPGA Tour came at the 2020 U.S. Women’s Open.
“I believe in my ability and in my practice and my team,” Kim said. “Yeah, they’re really helpful for me.”
The Club at Carlton Woods is one of the longer courses that the LPGA will visit this season, but that’s been little trouble for Kim.
“My driver first shot carries 255 or 260, but I can control every shape and every trajectory,” she said.
Khang started on the back nine, and her bogey-free 67 featured a string of birdies at Nos. 15, 17 and 18 — a par-4, par-3 and par-5, respectively.
“Honestly the pars are just as good as the birdies,” Khang said. “You put yourself in some situations where you are going to have to get a good up-and-down, and I think that’s kind of what we focused on.”
Earlier in the day, Vu amassed six birdies along with three bogeys, which let her set the early clubhouse lead at 7 under. Like Khang, Vu is 25 and hunting for her first major title.
“I think I’ve grown a lot since COVID, and I think I just never looked back,” Vu said. “I was in such a bad mindset my rookie year. Everything was life or death, and that’s not how I see things anymore.
“I feel like there’s always a solution to any problem, so I just try to stay positive, even though I get really angry sometimes when I make a mistake. I just try to look up and be positive.”
The group at the top will have former major winners Korda, Tavatanakit and Henderson right at their heels during Saturday’s third round. Tavatanakit improved on her first round by four shots, while Korda followed up a 68 with a 70 that included three bogeys.
“I was punching the air a couple times after my two three-putts, which … are kind of stupid mistakes,” Korda said, “but you just kind of have to stay mentally (strong) and know that there are some birdie opportunities, as well.”
The top 65 players plus ties will make the 36-hole cut, which is currently projected at 1 over par. Notable players on track to miss the cut include Thailand’s Moriya Jutanugarn (2 over), Lexi Thompson (2 over with two holes left to play) and world No. 1 Lydia Ko of New Zealand (3 over with two to play).
–Field Level Media