Sydney phenom Grace Kim is positioned to earn a breakthrough professional victory on the Epson Tour after a second-round 65 at the IOA Golf Classic in Florida.
Kim followed up her opening round of five-under 66 with a bogey-free six-under 65 in a second round that will have to be completed on Sunday morning due to a suspension of play late on Saturday due to dangerous weather in the area.
At 11-under Kim is tied with Korean Kum-Kang Park (66) with Queensland’s Sarah Jane Smith (66) in outright third position at 10-under.
Round 1 leader Katelyn Sisk is nine-under but with 10 holes left to play in her second round while Aussies Robyn Choi (eight-under) and Soo Jin Lee (six-under through six holes) are also prominent on the leaderboard.
Renowned for her accuracy off the tee and with her iron play, Kim said it was that control which allowed her to elevate herself up the leaderboard.
“I’ve hit my shots straight which has helped because several holes are quite tight, and you have to be precise,” said Kim.
“I had a clearer mind today, so hopefully do that again tomorrow. I will attack when I can and be appropriate with my shots.”
Fellow Aussie Sarah Jane Smith sits one shot back at 10-under par following a second straight 66.
“Today probably felt a bit more solid, overall. It was solid throughout the whole day,” said the 17-year LPGA Tour veteran.
“I played nice yesterday but had four birdies in a row, so it all happened quickly.
“I’ve been putting really well and not leaving myself any sneaky long ones. Everything has been a good pace and I have good feel on the greens.
“I think tomorrow will need a really low one but there are lots of birdies out here, so it’s a fun course to do that on.”
As Kim chases her first win as a professional – she won twice on American mini tours as an amateur last year – Whitney Hillier narrowly missed out on her maiden Ladies European Tour title at the Jabra Ladies Open.
The outright leader through 36 holes, Hillier led by three at one point of the final round but dropped three shots in the space of two holes after the turn.
Birdies at 14 and 15 were enough to draw level with Finland’s Tiia Koivisto but the crucial birdie eluded her over the final three holes, Koivisto making birdie at the first extra hole to consign the West Australian to second place.