LOS ANGELES • Kim In-kyung is hoping to take care of unfinished business at the ANA Inspiration after firing the joint-third lowest round of her career on Friday.
The South Korean, a runner-up in 2012 after a final-hole stumble, birdied all four par-fives, including the 18th hole, for a three-stroke halfway lead at the first golf Major of the LPGA Tour season.
She had eight birdies and one bogey in her round of seven-under 65 to take her total to 136 at the Mission Hills Country Club course near Palm Springs, California.
She later attributed her sizzling play to "training a lot and improving every day".
She said: "The ball was playing shorter than yesterday so I had to adjust. Out here, you get what you see. You can't really expect everything to go in.
"I was seeing some lines and put some good speed on it."
While she is still stung by a 35cm missed putt at the then-Kraft Nabisco Championship that would have given her the title seven years ago, she also believes that "every passage of life has meaning to it and serves some purpose to it".
She went on to lose to compatriot Yoo Sun-young in a play-off on the first extra hole.
Kim, 30, told the Golf Channel: "Sometimes, it is difficult to take outcomes. I don't have control over it, that's the truth. I've done some pretty good work over the winter. I just want to see what happens."
However, that heartbreaking moment has given her a greater understanding of the game, culminating in her first Major title at the 2017 Women's British Open.
She said: "Long time (ago), it (the ANA Inspiration title) was one of my goals. But now I am just happy to be out here.
"Winning is great. But, for me, as an athlete, you want to see some progress in your game. That's what I'm focusing on at the moment. That gives me joy. So, anything else is really just a bonus, an extra."
Australia's Katherine Kirk was second on 139 after a 68 while South Korean Ko Jin-young and American Ally McDonald were a further stroke behind.
American Lexi Thompson, who started the day joint-second, struggled as the winds whipped up. She hit back-to-back bogeys en route to a 72 for a share of fifth on 141 with world No. 1 Park Sung-hyun of South Korea and three others, five shots off the pace.
Admitting it was a "really hard day", 2014 champion Thompson said: "Some of the pin locations I don't think they really thought through with the extreme winds and crosswinds coming in.
"But I hit it very solid today, so still a lot of positives to take from the day going into the weekend."
The weather also played havoc with Swede Pernilla Lindberg's game as her title defence ended in a flurry of bogeys as she shot a 78 (151 total) to miss the cut along with American Michelle Wie ( 77).
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS
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