Oahu, Hawaii (SportsNetwork.com) - Rookie Sei Young Kim carded a 2-under 70 in Friday's third round and that was good enough to give her a 1-shot lead heading into the final day of the LOTTE Championship.
Sei Young Kim, who shared the second-round lead with I.K. Kim, picked up her first career victory on the LPGA Tour at the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic, the second event of the 2015 season. She finished 54 holes at 12-under-par 204.
"I think overall I didn't have the really good feel for my shots today," Sei Young Kim admitted. "Started to get better as the round went on, but my putting wasn't working too well. Overall it was a pretty tough round."
I.K. Kim, who also held the outright first-round lead, shot a 1-under 71 and she is alone in second at 11-under 205. World No. 3 Inbee Park is one shot further back at minus-10 following a 3-under 69 at Ko Olina Golf Club.
Jenny Shin (70) is alone in fourth at minus-8, while Chella Choi (71) is at 7- under. Ai Miyazato (71) and Paula Creamer (72) share sixth place at minus-6.
Defending champion Michelle Wie (73) is eight shots back and in a tie for eighth at 4-under with five others.
Sei Young Kim, entering the day with a 3-shot lead alongside I.K. Kim, was smooth out of the gate with four straight pars before she drained back-to-back birdies on five and six. That had Sei Young Kim out in front on her own.
After finishing up the front nine with three straight pars, Kim tripped to her first bogey on No. 10, only to get it back with a gain on the par-4 11th.
Kim later traded a birdie on 13 for a bogey on 14 and did the same thing with a gain on 16 and a bogey on 17. The dropped shot at 17 paired with an I.K. Kim birdie on the same hole had the duo tied for first once again.
However, while Sei Young Kim made par at the last, I.K. Kim made bogey to drop her a shot back entering the final day.
I.K. Kim took the outright lead early on when she drained a birdie at the first, but that was her last birdie for a while as the South Korean later made bogeys on three and eight.
Kim's next birdie did not come until 12 holes later at the par-5 13th. She then rattled off back-to-back gains on 16 and 17, which pulled her even with Sei Young Kim.
I.K. Kim was unable to get up and down for par when her second shot missed to the right of the green on 18 and she made bogey.
I.K. Kim agreed with Sei Young Kim about how difficult it was out on the course in round three.
"I just had tough day today. It was tough wind, but I was hitting the ball kind of everywhere, especially on the tee," I.K. Kim said. "I didn't know what was happening. I was pushing it to the right a few times and I was pressure reading my putting on the greens."
Park did most of her damage on the front nine with birdies on one, five and six to go along with a bogey on four. She closed out her round with 11 pars and one birdie on 13, getting her to within two of the lead.
NOTES: Since missing the cut at the first event of the season, Sei Young Kim has picked up a win and four top-10 finishes in six events ... Sei Young Kim held the second- and third-round leads at the ANA Inspiration two weeks ago, only to finish tied for fourth ... I.K. Kim has gone 89 starts on the LPGA Tour without a win. She has three career wins, with the last one coming at the 2010 Lorena Ochoa Invitational ... Park is the highest ranked player in the field this week. She has one win and four top-10 finishes in six events in 2015, with her worst finish being a tie for 13th ... Suzann Pettersen withdrew on Friday due to a shoulder injury.