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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, April 3, 2010

Kim 'Kraft'-ing major win

Honolulu Advertiser Special: Golf page

Associated Press

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Michelle Wie hits to the 11th green during the second round of the LPGA Kraft Nabisco Championship at Rancho Mirage, Calif. The Punahou School alum is five strokes off the lead.

CHRIS CARLSON | Associated Press

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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Song-Hee Kim

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RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. Song-Hee Kim will start the third round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship atop a leaderboard loaded with majors winners.

The 21-year-old South Korean is the world's highest-ranked player No. 14 without an LPGA Tour victory.

So was she nervous knowing she'll be in the final group today?

"Nope," she responded matter-of-factly after shooting a 4-under 68 yesterday at Mission Hills.

Michelle Wie, a Punahou School alum and Stanford student, is tied for 10th, five strokes off the lead. She shot her second straight 71 yesterday.

Kim has top-10 finishes in all three events this year as she chases her first victory. Her two-round total of 7-under 137 in the season's first major gave her a one-shot lead over majors winners Cristie Kerr (67), Karen Stupples (69) and top-ranked Lorena Ochoa (70).

Karrie Webb (70), a two-time winner here and a seven-time major winner overall, was two strokes back along with Stacy Lewis (68). Yani Tseng (71), the 2008 LPGA Championship winner, and first-round leader Suzann Pettersen (73) were 4 under.

"I've always been ready to win," Kim said.

There might be something to her confidence.

"With major championships, you would think that a lot of experience counts," said Kerr, who will play with Kim today. "But sometimes, you know, the people that haven't won don't put pressure on themselves and they come through."

Kim had a bogey-free round.

"I had a great round today, and my swing was really smooth and comfortable, and also I had great putting today," she said.

Kerr had the day's best round by going birdie-birdie-eagle on Nos. 9-11. Stupples opened birdie-birdie for her second straight 69, and Ochoa had birdies on three of her first five holes after making the turn.

"I bombed the driver all day today and it gave me a huge advantage on some of the holes where if you could get shorter clubs in, you could stop it a little bit better off the greens," Kerr said.

After taking the first-round lead with a bogey-free 67, Pettersen had three bogeys and a double bogey.

Ai Miyazato of Japan, who won the season's first two tournaments, missed the cut at 7 over after shooting a 77. She tied for 39th last week in the Kia Classic at La Costa.



HUMBLE, Texas Getting to the Masters is secondary in Bryce Molder's mind. He just wants that elusive first victory on the PGA Tour.

Molder birdied four of the last seven holes for a 6-under 66 and a one-stroke lead yesterday in the final event before the Masters next week at Augusta National. Molder had a 9-under 135 total on Redstone's Tournament Course.

Molder is winless in 88 career PGA Tour starts and he's never played in the Masters. Sure, he's thought about punching his ticket this week, but that's not as important to him as winning.

"Once you're out there and over the ball, you're not really thinking, 'Well, maybe this is what could or could not get me in next week,"' Molder said. "If you ask me that Sunday afternoon and I've got a two-shot lead walking down the last hole, maybe so.

"But I haven't won on the PGA Tour. When I win out here, first and foremost, it's going to be exciting."

Molder made short birdie putts on 12 and 13, then chipped in on the par-5 15th. He rolled in a 33-foot putt on 17 to take the outright lead.

First-round co-leader Cameron Percy (69) and fellow PGA Tour rookie Alex Prugh (66) were tied for second, and Lee Westwood (68), Anthony Kim (69), Joe Ogilvie (67) and Kevin Stadler (70) were 7 under after another windy day.

Ernie Els, Fred Couples and Phil Mickelson made the cut, but were far off the pace. Els (74) and Couples (73) were even par, and Mickelson (76) was 1 over.