See Young Kim in fairway

See Young Kim, center, has a determined look as she walks the fairway during Friday's second round of the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic.

Sei Young Kim's dominance this week at the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic moved beyond being a provincial thing Saturday and became something historic.

The 25-year-old from South Korea continued to blister Thornberry Creek at Oneida GC, birdieing four holes in a row starting at No. 13 to shoot 8-under-par 64 and get to 24-under for the week. That matched the LPGA Tour's all-time scoring record for most strokes below par after 54 holes set by Annika Sorenstam at the 2003 Mizuno Classic, equalled the mark for fewest strokes after 54 holes set by Sorenstam at the 2003 Mizuno Classic and tied by Nasa Hataoka at the 2018 Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in early June.

That left virtually just two questions to be answered — does she have another low round in her and are the LPGA Tour's 72-hole scoring records in jeopardy?

"Two years ago at the Founders Cup, I shoot a 27-under," Kim said Saturday, referring to another historic run in which she matched the record Sorenstam set at the 2001 Standard Register Ping for most strokes below par but came up three shots shy of the lowest 72-hole score set in 2004 by Karen Stupples  — the lead analyst for this week's event on Golf Channel — and matched in 2013 by Angela Stanford and Hee Young Park at the Manulife Classic.

"Before I tee off (Saturday), I was (like) 'If I shoot like 8-under or 7-under it's possible to (break) my score ... record. I hope to break it (Sunday)."

Kim essentially put herself out of reach of her closest pursuers in what has otherwise been an entertaining and ultra-competitive tournament. She will take an eight-stroke lead over Amy Yang into the final round when Kim and her fellow South Korean head to the first tee at 3:30 p.m. CDT Sunday.

Yang was alone in second place by one stroke over Australia's Lydia Ko (66), Sweden's Anna Nordqvist (67) and American Emma Talley (68). Five more golfers were tied for sixth, 10 shots back at 14-under 202, including 2017 champ Katherine Kirk, who birdied Nos. 13, 14, 15 and 17 to get there.

In case you were wondering, the largest come-from-behind victory in LPGA history is 10 strokes by three different golfers, most recently Louise Friberg at the 2008 MasterCard Classic. The biggest rally this season was authored by Michelle Wie, who came from five shots down to win the HSBC Women's World Championship.

In other words, the odds are stacked against the field near Green Bay.

"I was seven shots behind the leader on Thursday and then I shot 6-under (Friday) and I was still seven shots behind," Ko, the former world No. 1, said after her second straight 66. "I mean, Sei Young is tearing up the whole golf course. ... It's hard when it's like that, but it's also good that you're out there trying to make as many birdies as you can and being maybe sometimes a little more aggressive than you normally are. ... It's fun to play this kind of golf. You definitely need to be hitting the ball pretty well and you have to putt well. Obviously, Sei Young has been doing that very well the last few days."

It's been a fairly simple formula for Kim, the 2015 LPGA Rookie of the Year: Shoot 33 on the front nine and see how low you can go on the back nine.

That's how she opened with rounds of 63-65 and that's how she glided to an effortless 64 in Saturday's third round. An eagle at the par-5 third hole and a birdie at the par-5 ninth helped Kim shoot her third straight 33 on the front.

After starting the back nine par-birdie-par maintain a safe distance from the pack, Kim rattled off four straight birdies to get to 24-under.  She finished par-par on two of the tougher holes this week to shoot 31 on the back nine and give her something to shoot for on what could be an epic Sunday.

In addition to her pursuit of LPGA scoring records, Kim is also poised to take a run at two other marks. She has 25 sub-par holes through 54 holes; the LPGA Tour record is 30 set by Brittany Lincicome, Gerina Piller and Lexi Thompson, all at the 2017 Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Class. And if she is able to stretch her lead much further, the 32-year-old LPGA Tour record for largest margin of victory — set by Cindy Mackey at the 1986 MasterCard International Pro-Am — could come into play for the runaway leader as well.

"Is this the best you've been playing in your career?" Kim was asked.

"Yeah, it's (the best) ever," she replied. "(Best) ever in (my) life."

 

2018 Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic | Third-round scores (Thornberry Creek at Oneida GC)

Pos. Start Player Total Today R1 R2 R3 R4 Total
1 1 Sei Young Kim -24 -8 63 65 64 192
2 T3 Amy Yang -16 -5 67 66 67 200
T3 T11 Lydia Ko -15 -6 69 66 66 201
T3 T8 Anna Nordqvist -15 -5 67 67 67 201
T3 T3 Emma Talley -15 -4 65 68 68 201
T6 T22 Brittany Marchand -14 -6 64 72 66 202
T6 T11 Jodi Ewart Shadoff -14 -5 66 69 67 202
T6 T11 Carlota Ciganda -14 -5 65 70 67 202
T6 T3 Katherine Kirk -14 -3 62 71 69 202
T6 2 Yu Liu -14 -2 69 63 70 202
T11 T66 Nanna Koerstz Madsen -13 -9 72 68 63 203
T11 T66 Celine Boutier -13 -9 69 71 63 203
T11 T22 Ryann O'Toole -13 -5 70 66 67 203
T11 T11 Mi Jung Hur -13 -4 69 66 68 203
T11 T11 Bronte Law -13 -4 67 68 68 203
T11 T11 Ariya Jutanugarn -13 -4 66 69 68 203
T11 T11 Sandra Gal -13 -4 65 70 68 203
T11 T8 Chella Choi -13 -3 68 66 69 203
T11 T3 In Gee Chun -13 -2 67 66 70 203
T20 T42 Tiffany Joh -12 -6 69 69 66 204
T20 T30 Nasa Hataoka -12 -5 69 68 67 204
T20 T22 Thidapa Suwannapura -12 -4 69 67 68 204
T20 T11 Jin Young Ko -12 -3 68 67 69 204
T20 T11 Mo Martin -12 -3 67 68 69 204
T20 T3 Mariah Stackhouse -12 -1 66 67 71 204
T26 T42 Jane Park -11 -5 69 69 67 205
T26 T42 Kim Kaufman -11 -5 69 69 67 205
T26 T42 Giulia Molinaro -11 -5 68 70 67 205
T26 T30 Brianna Do -11 -4 68 69 68 205
T26 T30 Catriona Matthew -11 -4 68 69 68 205
T26 T22 Aditi Ashok -11 -3 69 67 69 205
T26 T22 Maria Torres -11 -3 67 69 69 205
T26 T11 Dani Holmqvist -11 -2 66 69 70 205
T26 T11 Georgia Hall -11 -2 66 69 70 205
T35 T66 Brooke M. Henderson -10 -6 65 75 66 206
T35 T42 Sophia Popov -10 -4 71 67 68 206
T35 T42 Jenny Shin -10 -4 68 70 68 206
T35 T30 Minjee Lee -10 -3 68 69 69 206
T35 T30 Lindy Duncan -10 -3 67 70 69 206
T35 T30 Christina Kim -10 -3 66 71 69 206
T41 T66 Peiyun Chien -9 -5 65 75 67 207
T41 T58 Rebecca Artis -9 -4 70 69 68 207
T41 T42 Hee Young Park -9 -3 70 68 69 207
T41 T42 Maddie McCrary -9 -3 67 71 69 207
T41 T42 Jennifer Song -9 -3 66 72 69 207
T41 T30 Amy Olson -9 -2 69 68 70 207
T41 T30 Sherman Santiwiwatthanaphong -9 -2 67 70 70 207
T41 T30 Wichanee Meechai -9 -2 66 71 70 207
T41 T22 Austin Ernst -9 -1 65 71 71 207
T41 T22 Megan Khang -9 -1 64 72 71 207
T41 T8 Brittany Altomare -9 1 68 66 73 207
T52 T66 Benyapa Niphatsophon -8 -4 69 71 68 208
T52 T42 Charley Hull -8 -2 71 67 70 208
T52 T42 Moriya Jutanugarn -8 -2 69 69 70 208
T52 T30 Brittany Lang -8 -1 68 69 71 208
T52 T30 Perrine Delacour -8 -1 67 70 71 208
T57 T66 Hyo Joo Kim -7 -3 72 68 69 209
T57 T58 Emily Pedersen -7 -2 70 69 70 209
T57 T58 Pornanong Phatlum -7 -2 69 70 70 209
T57 T42 Ayako Uehara -7 -1 65 73 71 209
T57 T30 Nicole Broch Larsen -7 E 68 69 72 209
T62 T66 Mariajo Uribe -6 -2 71 69 70 210
T62 T58 Dori Carter -6 -1 71 68 71 210
T62 T58 Lee-Anne Pace -6 -1 68 71 71 210
T62 T42 Kassidy Teare -6 E 69 69 72 210
T62 T42 Mirim Lee -6 E 69 69 72 210
T62 T42 Gaby Lopez -6 E 68 70 72 210
T62 T22 Mel Reid -6 2 69 67 74 210
T69 T66 Laetitia Beck -5 -1 68 72 71 211
T69 T66 Laura Davies -5 -1 68 72 71 211
T69 T66 Wei-Ling Hsu -5 -1 68 72 71 211
T69 T58 Lauren Kim -5 E 71 68 72 211
T69 T42 Camilla Lennarth -5 1 68 70 73 211
T74 T66 Cheyenne Woods -3 1 72 68 73 213
T74 T66 Azahara Munoz -3 1 66 74 73 213
T74 T58 Annie Park -3 2 68 71 74 213
T74 T58 Jennifer Hahn -3 2 67 72 74 213
78 T66 Mina Harigae -1 3 73 67 75 215

Rob started covering the Wisconsin golf scene in 1987 at the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison & has been the only reporter covering all levels of state golf. He joined Killarney Golf Media in Sept. 2015 & helped launch Wisconsin.Golf in Jan. 2016.