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Katherine Kirk claims lead while Sei Young Kim struggles in LPGA Classic

By The Sports Xchange
Katherine Kirk claims lead while Sei Young Kim struggles in LPGA Classic
Sei Young Kim hits a tee shot at the Women's PGA Championship. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Katherine Kirk of Australia shot a 9-under-par 63 on Friday to surge to the top of the leaderboard before play was suspended in the second round of the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic in Oneida, Wis.

Officials ended play because of darkness at 8:33 CT with more than half the field still on the course due to inclement weather earlier in the day. Play will resume at 8 a.m. local time Saturday.

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Kirk was among the early starters and made her move with a blistering back nine, carding a 29 that featured five birdies and an eagle in an eight-hole span.

A 13-year-veteran who is bidding for her third LPGA win, Kirk had eight birdies overall in her round to move to 13-under 131 -- three shots clear of Jaye Marie Green of the United States.

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"I think it might be my best (round) on the LPGA," Kirk said after tying the lowest round of her career. "I know I've had eight (birdies), but I don't know if I've had nine, so yeah, really happy with it."

Green had two birdies and two bogeys on the front side but also tore up the back nine with six birdies in her round of 66. She is at 10 under for the tournament along with Germany's Sandra Gal, who had six birdies through 13 holes when play was suspended.

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"I played well last week. I hit it well, and I feel like I'm wanting a win so bad that as cool as that I'm putting myself in position, whether it happens or not, you only learn from getting in this position," said Green, who is seeking her first victory on the LPGA Tour.

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Moriya Jutanugarn of Thailand shot a 68 and was joined by countrywoman Pavarisa Yoktuan (68), South Africa's Ashleigh Buhai (66) and South Korea's Ilhee Lee in a tie for fourth at 9-under 135.

"You've got to just keep your foot on the gas out here," said Buhai in reference to the low scores being posted.

Christina Kim of the United States carded a 67 and led a pack of four players in the clubhouse at 8 under through 36 holes.

First-round co-leaders Sei Young Kim of South Korea and rookie Laura Gonzalez Escallon of Belgium each struggled after their opening 65s.

Kim was 1 over for the day and 6 under for the tournament with six holes left in her second round. Escallon had a quadruple bogey and was 4 over for the day with five holes to play.

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World No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn withdrew from the tournament with a shoulder injury.

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