Late birdies boost Aussie Kemp to LPGA Pure Silk lead

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Australian Sarah Kemp is the 36-hole leader of the LPGA Pure Silk Championship at Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, Florida

Two late birdies lifted Sarah Kemp to a one-shot lead in Pure Silk Championship on Friday, where the Australian veteran is chasing her first US LPGA tour title.

Kemp had six birdies overall in her four-under 67 at Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, Virginia. Her six-under total of 136 put her one in front of Americans Jessica Korda and Stacy Lewis and Slovenian Ana Belac.

Korda had two eagles in her 67 to reach five-under 137. Lewis had four birdies and two bogeys, dropping a shot at the 18th to fall out of a share of the 36-hole lead.

Belac shook off an early bogey to card five birdies, three in a row at six, seven and eight and a brace at 13 and 14.

As Lewis faltered, Kemp struck with birdies at the seventh and eighth -- her 16th and 17th holes of the day.

The 35-year-old Aussie, ranked 177th in the world, had started the day three shots off the lead and gained ground with birdies at the 10th, 15th and 16th before a bogey at 18.

She had three birdies and a bogey coming home, as well, gaining the lead with a long birdie putt from off the green at the eighth.

"Sometimes you just feel like you're going to play well, and it was one of those days," Kemp said. "Hit some great shots. Made some putts. I didn't miss a whole lot of fairways. Probably had under 30 putts, and that leads to four-under.

"So it was very good."

Kemp, who has made six cuts in 14 events this season and has one top-10 finish -- at the Gainbridge LPGA in February -- said it had been a long time since she played in a final group as she will on Saturday.

She said she'll try not to let it change her approach.

"I've got a little stat thing in my yardage book, and it's kind of just the simple stuff. Hit fairways, have a one putt, get the putts past the hole," she said, adding that it keeps her from focusing too much on her score.

"I think that will be key tomorrow. If I can just forget about my score and focus on the simple stuff ... that's all I can control."

Korda, whose six LPGA wins include this year's Tournament of Champions, had set an early target, her two eagles including a "sick" hole-out from the fairway at the par-five 15th.

One-over for the day after an early bogey, she eagled the par-five seventh.

At 15, Korda said, she "really wanted to go for it in two" but opted not to with the tee set back.

"So I laid up and (caddie Kyle Bradley) and I were like it's just a hard half shot and it landed exactly where we wanted and it turned straight into the hole," she said. "I was like, 'Sick!'

"I don't hole out from the middle of the fairway too often, so that was really exciting," she said."

A group of five players were two off the lead on 138, including overnight leader Hsu Wei-Ling of Taiwan. She was joined by world number three Kim Sei-Young and Kang Hae-Ji of South Korea and Moriya Jutanugarn and Wichanee Meechai of Thailand.

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