PGA Tour

Kim uses late birdie run to open up 5 shot lead LPGA lead

Kim Sei-young of Korea.
Kim Sei-young of Korea.
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Kim Sei-young used a late birdie run to shoot a sizzling 64 and open up a five-stroke lead over Ally McDonald at the LPGA Tour's Pelican Women's Championship on Saturday.

South Korea's Kim caught fire on the back nine, making birdie on four straight holes from the 14th through the 17th to reach 14-under 196 at the Pelican Golf Club in Florida.

American McDonald had a roller-coaster round of 68 that included a hole-in-one on the par three 12th and a double bogey on No. 8 to get to nine-under for the tournament.

"She made a hole-in-one. I got a little bit pressure, but I just tried to focus on my game," said Kim, who responded with her birdie binge.

Second ranked Kim and McDonald are both breakthrough winners in their last starts.

Kim is making her first start since winning the Women's PGA Championship a month and half ago for her first major crown.

McDonald captured her first tour title late last month at the Drive On Championship in Georgia in the Tour's most recent tournament.

Kim came into the third round with a one-shot lead over McDonald then used the birdie run to leave the American behind in the first year tournament which was originally scheduled for May.

"I just trying to keep pushing myself until the last hole," Kim said. "That is way to make more birdies."

McDonald started a run of her own on the back nine, but then dropped a shot with a bogey on 16.

She took advantage of a favourable wind to get the ace on 12.

"It was playing like 115 front, 127 hole, and there was a little bit of downwind," McDonald said. "So, I thought a 115 shot, just playing the front edge, would be enough to pitch it a few yards on and let it release.

"Honestly, this is kind of how my strategy works, was everything told me to look a couple paces right of it, so I did. That's kind of my strategy, because I wasn't looking at the hole, but then it went in."

Northern Ireland's Stephanie Meadow was third at eight-under after a 68. Kiwi Lydia Ko (66) was seven under. Canadian Brooke Henderson (66), Aussie Minjee Lee (67) and American Austin Ernst (65) were six-under.

Leading scores after Saturday's third round of the LPGA Pelican Women's Championship in Tampa, Florida (par-70, USA unless noted):

196 - Kim Sei-young (KOR) 67-65-64

201 - Ally McDonald 67-66-68

202 - Stephanie Meadow (NIR) 69-65-68

203 - Lydia Ko (NZL) 70-67-66

204 - Austin Ernst 71-68-65, Brooke Henderson (CAN) 68-70-66, Minjee Lee (AUS) 68-69-67

205 - Elizabeth Szokol 69-66-70

207 - Hur Mi-jung (KOR) 70-69-68

208 - Mel Reid (ENG) 73-70-65, Angela Stanford 70-68-70, Jennifer Song 68-70-70, Ashleigh Buhai (RSA) 66-72-70, Lindsey Weaver 69-68-71

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