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Kim shoots 68, stays within shot of leader



Published: Sun, July 21, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



By BRIAN RICHESSON

VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF

VIENNA -- Mi Hyun Kim has been in this situation. She knows what it's like to be in contention.

That's where the 25-year-old Korean finds herself today in the final round of the Giant Eagle LPGA Classic at Squaw Creek Country Club.

Kim shot a second-round 68 to move within one stroke of leader Kelly Robbins, who stands at 12-under-par 132.

"She putted tremendous," Robbins said of Kim. "She's probably one of the best putters on tour when she gets it going."

Kim will try to get it going today on a course that continues to dry following Friday's heavy rains.

With birdies on three of her first four holes, Kim took an early lead. Her streak was highlighted by a 25-foot putt on No. 1. She then birdied Nos. 9 and 10 to take a two-stroke lead over Robbins.

"The birdie streak surprised me," Kim said. "Sometimes I was hitting it shorter than I thought."

Bogey creates tie

A three-putt bogey at No. 12 dropped Kim into a tie with Robbins and shook her confidence. She then had trouble regaining it, being overcome by Robbins at No. 14.

"The first nine I had a good score. The putting was good," Kim said. "After making the three-putt, I was a little bit confused. I lost the putting stroke."

Kim, seeking her fourth victory on tour, has been in contention this season. She took the lead into back-to-back tournaments earlier this season -- June 12-15 at the Evian Masters and June 20-23 at the Wegmans Rochester LPGA -- before falling back.

"I'll try to do the best in my game [today]," she said. "I'll just forget my score. Just hit it straight and have good putting."

The Squaw Creek course, slowed by the Friday rains, played longer Saturday. Kim, not one of the longest drivers on tour, foresees it favoring the longer hitters.

"The course is tight," she said. "The longer players can go right or left. The fairways are soft, so if their ball lands in the fairway, it will spin and stay in the fairway."

richesson@vindy.com




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