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Danielle Kang is chasing closely at the BMW Ladies Championship, but the two women ahead of her already have knocked her name off the record books for the event at LPGA International Busan in South Korea. Co-leaders Hee Jeong Lim and Na Rin An, both winners on the KLPGA, are tied at 11-under 133 for 36 holes which is a new record score for the halfway point of this championship. Kang used to hold that record at 10 under, having reached that number after 36 holes of the inaugural event in 2019.
Remarkably, Lim hasn’t missed a fairway yet this week and is the only player in the field who doesn’t have a bogey on her card.
“I’m a player that needs to start off well. So I really focus on my first and second holes. And I think once you play well in your first two holes, then you’re at an ease for the following holes. So I think that worked well today,” said Lim, who finished the day with a 6-under 66. “And in terms of the course itself, I think we can get an opportunity to snatch many birdies here. So I tried to aim for that. So I tried to work on my shot.”
An, the first-round solo leader, had four birdies on her card in a second-round 69.
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Both women remain in the running to set another record this week. Should any player from South Korea win, it would be the 200th LPGA victory for a South Korean player on tour. Two more women just down the leaderboard also remain in the running for that honor: two-time major champion In Gee Chun and former world No. 1 Jin Young Ko.
Ko’s streak of 14 consecutive rounds in the 60s came to an end in the first round, but she rebounded with authority by firing a bogey-free 8-under 64 on Friday.
“My friends and even my parents, you know, give me a lot of encouragement yesterday after my streak in the 60s came to an end,” Ko said. “And my mother was like, you know, oh, what is it that gives you such a hard time? Because I think that she felt so bad. She felt like I wasn’t enjoying the game and the tournament. But that wasn’t the case. But I feel like my mother knew me better than myself.”
As for Kang, who won the Buick LPGA Shanghai on the tour’s Asian Swing in 2018 and 2019, rounds of 66-68 have her in a tie for third with Chun, one shot behind the leaders. She credits part of her good play this week to swing coach Butch Harmon.
“I’ve been working on a lot of good things,” she said. “And I called Butch my fairy godfather today because he waved the wand and fixed something that I’ve been working on for a while. Guess it was more — there was a couple technical stuff that we discussed. I think it’s being open about what’s bothering you, how you felt on certain putts and shots.”
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Jin Young Ko's streak in the 60s comes to an end at BMW, where she looks to clinch 200th LPGA title for South Korean players