Kim falters but still leads by one at LPGA Thailand

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I.K. Kim maintained her lead following a 1-over-par 73 on Friday at the Honda LPGA Thailand at Siam Country Club.  The 22-year-old struggled early with bogies at holes two, three, six and nine, turning in 39 thanks to a birdie at the par-3 fourth.  She managed three birdies on the back nine with a bogey at 15 to shoot 73 and drop to 8-under-par 136.

The star-studded leader board includes Michelle Wie, Yani Tseng, Paula Creamer, Julie Inkster and company.

Newly crowned Rolex Rankings No. 1 Tseng leads a cast of characters chasing I.K. Kim for the season-opening title at the Honda LPGA Thailand.  Tseng, a back-to-back winner on the Ladies European Tour entering this week, shot 1-under-par 71 on Friday to move into a tie with Michelle Wie at 7-under par.  The Hawaiian tied the best round of the day (Anna Nordqvist, Karrie Webb) with a 4-under-par 68.

Michelle Wie carded a joint best of the day 68 to move into second place.Michelle Wie carded a joint best of the day 68 to move into second place.

LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame member Juli Inkster is tied with reigning U.S. Women’s Open champion Paula Creamer, Rolex Rankings No. 5 Na Yeon Choi and Japan’s Momoko Ueda at 5-under-par 139.

Defending champion Ai Miyazato shot 3-under-par 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 25th at even-par 144.  LPGA member Pornanong Phatlum is the leading Thai player at 4-under-par 140.

For the second consecutive day, preferred lies were in place due to soggy conditions following an early week rainstorm.

Halfway leader Kim, who noted that the Thailand heat and humidity may have gotten the best of her on Friday, will tee off in the final group alongside Wie on Saturday afternoon.

“I really had a tough day.  It was such a difference coming from yesterday when I teed off first and I didn’t really expect much,” said the South Korean.  “I couldn’t really find a rhythm and made some bad mistakes (but) I turned it around on the back-nine and played really solid.  The heat is exhausting.”

Kim has victories in each of her last three years on Tour, including the 2010 Lorena Ochoa Invitational, where she pledged to donate her entire winner’s paycheck to charity.

After shooting a second round 68, Michelle Wie said she was enjoying the playing conditions at the Siam Country Club Old Course.

“I think it’s a very nice course with a lot of variety and the greens are very fast.  I need to stop hitting it five feet past the holes on my putts,” said the 185cm Hawaiian.  “The greens are really in fantastic shape.  They’re awesome.”  (Source LPGA)

I.K. Kim shot a 1-over par 73 on Friday to lead the field by one.I.K. Kim shot a 1-over par 73 on Friday to lead the field by one.

Pornanong Phatlum is the leading Thai player after two rounds on 4-under par.Pornanong Phatlum is the leading Thai player after two rounds on 4-under par.