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Sei Young Kim sets 54-hole mark at 24 under at LPGA Classic

UPDATED: Sat., July 7, 2018

Sei Young Kim reacts to a narrowly missed putt on the fifth hole during the third round of the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic golf tournament Saturday, July 7, 2018 in Oneida, Wis. (Jim Matthews / Post-Crescent via AP)
Sei Young Kim reacts to a narrowly missed putt on the fifth hole during the third round of the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic golf tournament Saturday, July 7, 2018 in Oneida, Wis. (Jim Matthews / Post-Crescent via AP)
Associated Press

ONEIDA, Wis. – Sei Young Kim won’t only be chasing a victory at the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic on Sunday. She will also be chasing history.

Sei Young Kim shot an 8-under-par 64 in the third round of Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic on Saturday to tie Annika Sorenstam’s 54-hole record of 24 under and take a commanding eight-stroke lead.

In the final round, Kim will be trying for Sorenstam’s 72-hole record of 27 under.

“I just want to keep challenging myself and what I can do,” she said. “Even if I break it, I’ll keep (making) the challenges higher. That’s my goal.”

Kim, who had a 63 on Thursday and a 65 on Friday, got rolling with an eagle on No. 3 and added six birdies. A birdie on No. 16 tied Annika Sorenstam’s 24 under at the Mizuno Classic in Japan in 2003. After Kim missed a long birdie putt on the par-3 17th, she hit her tee shot on the 390-yard 18th into the left rough. Her approach was well short of the hole, and her birdie putt missed badly. She made a testy putt to save par.

Kim will take aim at Sorenstam’s 72-hole record of 27-under par, set at the Standard Register Ping in 2001 in Phoenix. Kim will need a 4-under 68 on Sunday to break that record.

Amy Yang was a distant second at 16 under after shooting a 5-under 67. Eight players are within two shots of Yang but 10 shots of the record-setting Kim.

Lydia Ko, who holed a wedge on the par-5 15th, was tied for third with Anna Nordqvist and Emma Talley at 15 under.

“I was seven shots behind the leader on Thursday and I shot 6-under and I was still seven shots behind,” Ko said. “It doesn’t happen very often when that’s the case. Sei Young is tearing up the whole course.”

Defending champion Katherine Kirk, who has been unable to follow up on her 10-under 62 from Thursday, is one of five players at 14 under.

Kim, who is seeking her first win of the season, was a disappointing 25th at last week’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. After struggling at the major, she asked, “What’s wrong with me?” She turned to YouTube videos to “make my mind stronger.”

They apparently worked. The best advice?

“Just trust yourself,” she said. “But before this week even I heard that. I didn’t trust myself even though I have potential. But after the major tournament, I realized, ‘OK, I can do that.’ If I imagine, it comes true. It’s come true.”

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