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Grace Kim opens five-shot lead at LPGA Classic

LPGA: KPMG Women's PGA Championship - Third RoundJune 24, 2023; Springfield, New Jersey, USA; Grace Kim tees off on the 4th hole during the third round of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship golf tournament. Mandatory credit: John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

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

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

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

“Well, I guess I knew my golf game was good enough, especially since I recently dealt with this position in LA this year,” Kim said. “I think I’ve learned from experience… (and) just tried everything to get my mind off the golf course or anything to do with golf. Yeah, I think I’ve just tried to keep myself relax during the warm-ups and have a free spirit there today.”

Kim said she is 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 that well, so I gave myself another chance to, I guess, do it again and actually get it done,” she said . “I know I’m going to do my best tomorrow, and everyone else will too. This golf course calls for (a lot of) birdies and there are a lot of good players here. Our playing field is quite deep and its strength is great. so I know everyone will do their best.

“We’ll see who comes through.”

Anna Nordgvist and Lexi Thompson both scored 65 on moving day, jumping 22 spots up the leaderboard and finishing tied for second at 12 under.

“I just got into a little bit of trouble,” Thompson said. “This is a golf course where you know you have to play aggressively and make a lot of birdies. I just came out feeling really comfortable, made some good swings and rolled in a few putts. I just got in the groove and tried to which was to hold the pedal as far as I could out there.”

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

“It was a bit of a struggle today,” Ewing said. “I made some really good putts so I could stay in there early. Grace started rolling towards the end and towards the end of the round I just wasn’t hitting it very well. Then I missed a couple of putts that I had to make ….

“So it’s been a grind and we’re still in a good place for tomorrow.”

–Field-level media