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Jun 15, 2024 8:12 pm

Grace Kim opens 5-shot lead at LPGA Classic

Grace Kim

Australian Grace Kim birdied four of her final six holes — including No. 18 — to open a five-shot lead after 54 holes at the Meijer LPGA Classic on Saturday in Belmont, Mich.

Kim sits at 17 under for the tournament, leading five players by five strokes, including second-round co-leader Ally Ewing (third round 71). Another four players are six shots off the lead in a tie for seventh at Blythefield Country Club.

After carding three straight birdies on Nos. 5-7, Kim’s only blemish came with a bogey on the par-5 10th. She more than made up for it with birdies on Nos. 13-14, the 16th and the par-5 finishing hole.

“Well, I guess I knew that my golf game was good enough, especially I’ve dealt with this position in L.A. recently this year,” Kim said. “I think I learned from experience … (and) just tried to do everything to keep my mind off the golf course or anything to do with golf. Yeah, I guess just tried to ease myself into the warmups and try to have a free mind out there today.”

Kim said she’s better prepared to play with a big lead in the final round.

“The last time I had a five-shot lead I didn’t do very well, so giving myself another chance to, I guess, do it again and actually get it done,” she said. “I know I’m going to try my best for tomorrow and everyone else will. This golf course calls for (lots) of birdies and there are a lot of good players out here. Our field is quite deep with the strength of it, so I know everyone will try their best.

“We’ll see who pulls through.”

Anna Nordgvist and Lexi Thompson both shot 65 on moving day to vault 22 spots up the leaderboard into a tie for second at 12 under.

“Just kind of got into a groove of things,” Thompson said. “This is a golf course you know you have to come out and play aggressive and make lots of birdies. Just came out feeling very comfortable, made a few good swings, and rolled in some putts. Just got in a groove and tried to keep the pedal down as much as I could out there.”

After firing a 63 on Friday, Ewing fell back to the field with three bogeys on the back nine.

“It was a little bit of a scramble today,” Ewing said. “I made some really good putts to just kind of hang in early. Grace got rolling towards the end and I just kind of didn’t hit it great towards the end of the round. Then missed a couple putts that I needed to make. …

“So it was a grind and we are still in an OK spot for tomorrow.”

–Field Level Media

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