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Kim Kaufman takes lead in LPGA Tour’s Founders Cup

March 21, 2015

PHOENIX (AP) — Kim Kaufman birdied the par-4 18th for a 5-under 67 and a one-stroke lead after the delayed second round of the JTBC Founders Cup early Saturday.

Kaufman had six holes left when darkness suspended play on Friday in the tournament that fell behind on Thursday when rain delayed the start for four hours. She rebounded after finishing with a bogey on Friday, also making a birdie on the par-5 15th.

“Kind of had a rough finish yesterday,” Kaufman said. “It’s kind of hard to split up your round into two days, but I did a good job of staying patient. I made some good pars and, fortunately, made a couple of birdies.”

Kaufman had an 11-under 133 total at Desert Ridge. She’s in her second full season on the U.S. LPGA Tour.

Hyo Joo Kim was a stroke back. She had a 69 on Friday.

Top-ranked Lydia Ko completed a 69 to reach 9 under. The 17-year-old New Zealander birdied Nos. 16 and 17 and saved par on 18 after missing the green.

“You can see by the scores that there’s lots of birdie opportunities out there,” Ko said. “I’ve just got to get aggressive and hole my share of the putts.”

Ko nearly won last year at Desert Ridge, squandering a three-stroke lead with 13 holes left and tying for second — a stroke behind Karrie Webb.

Third-ranked Stacy Lewis, the 2013 winner, also was 9 under along with Austin Ernst, Sei Young Kim and Ariya Jutanugarn.

Lewis played 30 holes on Friday. She opened with a 64, making seven birdies in a nine-hole span to take the first-round lead, and had a 71 in the afternoon.

Ernst, Sei Young Kim and Jutanugarn finished the second round on Saturday. Sei Young Kim and Jutanugarn shot 66, and Ernst had a 67.

Ha Na Jang, the leader at 11 under with seven holes left when play was stopped on Friday, finished with a 68 to drop into a tie for eighth at 8 under.

Michelle Wie, paired with Ko, holed a 30-foot birdie putt on 18 to make the cut on the number at 2 under. She also birdied No. 16.

“Those putts are more nerve-wracking than putts to win a tournament,” Wie said. “A lot of putts out there didn’t drop. I needed to get something going.”

She had a 69 after opening with a 73.

Webb, also the 2011 winner, was 7 under.

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