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In-Kyung Kim could do no wrong as she scorched the front nine at Highland Meadows Golf Club in an eye-popping, record-shattering start to her third round at the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic yesterday.
Kim opened her round with an astounding seven straight birdies and carded an incredible 27 (7-under par) on the front nine. It established a new Farr Classic record for a nine-hole score and was the lowest posted this season on the tour. It also tied the all-time LPGA record for raw score set by Jimin Kang in 2005.
And Kim needed just 10 putts to do it.
"Birdie, birdie, birdie. I'm like, 'How many more birdies, you know?,'•" said the affable 19-year-old South Korean. "But, yes, it's cool."
The seven consecutive birdies were the most strung together by any player on tour this season.
"I just kept making birdies," Kim said. "I was making putts. I thought maybe I could shoot 57 today. I made seven birdies in a row, and I was like, 'Wow, what's going on?' "
Kim finished with a 6-under 65. She is now five shots behind leader Se Ri Pak going into today's final round.
Kim's partner yesterday, Kim Hall, said she became almost a fan as she watched Kim post birdie after birdie.
"When she birdied 7, I told my caddy I want to see her birdie the whole front 9," Hall said. "Wouldn't that be neat?"
Hall said Kim's putting was the key to the start of the run.
"On the first three holes, she made some really long putts," Kim said. "So she wasn't really stiffing it. Then she started knocking the pins down."
The LPGA Tour record for consecutive birdies to start a round is eight, set by Annika Sorenstam at the 2001 Standard Register Ping. Sorenstam finished with a 59 at that tournament.
Kim's seventh straight birdie at the seventh hole put her at 9-under, and she was just three strokes behind Pak. Kim then recorded bogeys on the 12th and 16th holes to slip to 7-under.
At 17, Kim barely missed out on an eighth birdie when her putt from about 10 feet lipped out.
But at 18, Kim hit a sand wedge from 82 yards to within nine feet of the cup. She rolled that in to finish, appropriately enough, with a birdie.
"After 16, that kind of got me down a little bit," Kim said. "I had a great chance at No. 17 and just missed to the right. But on 18, I had a birdie. So I think I still have a chance to go out [and win] tomorrow, and I'm glad I have one more day to go."
Kim made three putts that were 25 feet or longer to open her streak.
"I started out with a great putt on the first hole," Kim said. "After that putt, nothing was easy. But it just kept going in, and I had some great shots to make birdies, and that's it. I mean, all seven holes went really quick."
Kim, who has two top-10 finishes this season, took second at the Wegmans LPGA three weeks ago.
She said she knew Highland Meadows could yield birdies.
"My caddie told me before we started the tournament, 'You can make birdie on every hole on this golf course.' It doesn't mean it's easy, but I do have a chance to make birdies," Kim said.
Kim, who had nine birdies over the first two rounds, now has 18 overall.
"My low shot was 8-under when I was 14. I thought I could break it [today], but it didn't happen," Kim said. "But I had lots of good thoughts. You can't play perfect.
"I shot 27 on the front nine, so that's pretty special. This is my first time to make seven birdies in a row, so it's pretty cool."
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