It hasn't been a bad two-plus years on the job for In-Kyung Kim.
Kim, who broke through with her first LPGA Tour victory last year in her second full pro season, continued introducing herself to the golf world on Friday at the Michelob Ultra Open.
Kim, a 20-year-old from South Korea, set the early standard with a 7-under-par 64 to briefly surge into the lead at 10-under par for the tournament.
Fellow South Korean Song-Hee Kim joined her at 10 under after an 8-under 63 that tied the River Course record, and the two shared second place with Cristie Kerr, who also shot 63.
"I putted better today," Kim said. "I made some 20-footers, so that was good. I had more chances (on) 17 and 16, but I can't complain about today's round."
Nor can she complain about her career so far. She's already topped the million-dollar mark in earnings and notched her first pro victory at the Longs Drugs Challenge last year.
This season, she's finished third in Phoenix in March, but hasn't finished in the top 25 in five other tournaments.
"It's great to be on the Tour and playing against the best players," Kim said. "I think I've reached my goal. But there's my goal, and then I have to step up every year. I have to get better, and I want to win more tournaments and speak better English.
"I'm only 20. ... I just want to keep learning and studying like other 20-year-old girls."
Natalie Gulbis' blond hair, bright smile and form-fitting golf outfits draw plenty of attention, but her game attracted even more notice on Friday.
Gulbis shot a 6-under 65 and closed with a flourish, making birdies on four of her final six holes. That included an 8-foot putt on the par-3 17th that hung tantalizingly on the lip of the cup before dropping in, and a 2-footer on 18 after she stuck an 8-iron to within 2 feet.
"I had a good day out there," said Gulbis, tied for sixth at 7-under 135. "I love this golf course, so coming back here is always a pleasure. This morning, we knew without any wind or rain and when the course is pure, you can definitely go low here. … You see the pins, and you know a good score today would have been in the 60s."
Not working over the weekend
Some notable names missed the cut, which came at 1-over par. Se Ri Pak, the 2004 Mich Ultra champion, shot 2 over, as did Morgan Pressel, who won the 2007 Kraft Nabisco Championship at age 18. ... Neither of the amateurs in the field came close to making the cut. Both Meredith Swanson of Roanoke and Brazilian Victoria Tanco finished 7-over par. Swanson, who shot 72 on Thursday, made two birdies Friday, but also had six bogeys and a double bogey for a 77. Tanco shot 1-under 70 Friday, but couldn't overcome a first-round 79. … Christina Kim, who shot an opening-round 7-over 78, withdrew from the tournament on Friday.
Staff writer Lynn Burke contributed to this report.
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