Kim had seven birdies – four in a row on Nos. 12-15 – and two bogeys on the Panther Creek course.
Kim, winless in two seasons on the LPGA Tour, said she has struggled with focus after bad holes, but thinks she’s maturing and managing herself better on the course. The American proved it Friday, quickly rebounding from a bogey on the par-4 10th – her opening hole of the round.
“I would just get angry. I mean if I made a stupid bogey, which, on No. 10, it really was,” Kim said. “Honestly, in the past I just didn’t practice in my off-season. I would just hang out with my friends, and I think I did a little too much of that. This off-season, I cut out a lot of time for golf. I spent a lot of time on the golf course preparing myself mentally with my new coach.
“If I make bogey, I can’t go back and make par, right? Just have to get over it.”
Tseng won the season-opening LPGA Thailand for her sixth tour title in four years.
“I had eight birdies and two bogeys that I don’t think I should make,” Tseng said. “I feel like I lost a little focus. But I had a great round. I’m very happy.”
Feng closed strong, with birdies on Nos. 15, 16 and 17.
“I think this course really fits me,” said Feng, who led last year after the first round. “I’ve had two top 5s here before. I feel really comfortable hitting on the course.”
Tseng played the first two rounds with Kim.
“She really pushes me hard to play better,” Tseng said. “She would get close and I want to get close, too. I don’t want to hit it out of range if she’s close. It’s very nice to have a player like that to compete with in the same group.”
Jiyai Shin had a hole-in-one on the par-3 second hole en route to a 68 to reach 10 under.
She made a 50-foot putt for birdie on No. 2 on Thursday, then had the hole-in-one on the 146-yard hole.
“It’s my favorite hole,” Shin said. “I can’t wait for tomorrow.”
She used an 8-iron.
“I couldn’t see the hole, but the reaction of the gallery, they were screaming,” said Shin, who has eight lifetime aces. “Watching the ball flight, I thought it might get close.”