(Reuters) – South Korean Kim In-kyung shot a sparkling seven-under 65 for a three-stroke clubhouse lead in the second round of the ANA Inspiration at Mission Hills in Rancho Mirage on Friday.
The former women’s British Open winner made a birdie at the last, her eighth of the day, to close at eight-under 136 in the first major of the year.
Australian Katherine Kirk, who had been tied with Kim earlier, held second at five-under after a 68.
First-round leader Ally McDonald was at four-under following a 72 with South Korean world number one Park Sun-hyun (70) among three at three-under.
Kim, playing the back nine first, rolled in three birdies in a four-hole stretch twice, the second time to go eight under.
She dropped a stroke with her only bogey at the seventh hole but got it back with another birdie to close her round.
“I put some good speed on it,” Kim said of her putting. “I think I got a little bit better job of that today.”
Seven years ago Kim narrowly missed out on the tournament trophy when she failed to convert a one-foot putt on the final hole and lost a playoff.
“Long time it was one of my goals,” she said of winning the major. “But now I am just happy to be out here. I have a better understanding of what I am doing out here.”
Canadian Brooke Henderson had been just a stroke off the lead when a triple-bogey at the par-three 14th ruined her round. She finished the day seven strokes off the lead after a 72.
American Michelle Wie looks likely to miss the projected cut after a 77 left her at seven-over 151.
(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina, editing by Ed Osmond)