South Koreans have ruled the LPGA this season, and I.K. Kim hopes to add her name to the impressive roster of champions after closing with three straight birdies Wednesday in Hawaii for a 7-under 65 and a two-shot lead at the Lotte Championship.
Kim's fellow countrywomen Inbee Park (HSBC Women's Champions), Na Yeon Choi (Coates Golf Championship) and Sei Young Kim (Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic) are all winners on Tour this year and share second place just two strokes back. Jenny Shin is three back after a 4-under 68.
Paula Creamer, winless since holing a miracle putt at the 2014 HSBC Women's Champions, and Cristie Kerr, a winner three weeks ago at the Kia Classic, headline nine players at 3 under par.
Defending champion Michelle Wie and Natalie Gulbis are among nine players five shots behind at 2 under par.
Cheyenne Woods shot a 3-over 75. She's only recorded one top-25 finish through five events in her rookie season.
South Koreans – or players born in South Korea in Lydia Ko's case – took home the first six LPGA events this season, but the Americans have won the last two events – Kerr captured the Kia Classic, and Brittany Lincicome won her second major two weeks ago at the ANA Inspiration.