Lin leads, Kemp hot on heels in LPGA

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Australia's Sarah Kemp is among a posse of challengers in pursuit of Xiyu Lin, who fired an eight-under 64 at the Kenwood Country club to snatch the lead in the LPGA's Queen City Championship.

Lin opened with five birdies in six holes, birdied all but one of the par 5s to take a one-shot lead over Nasa Hataoka on Thursday.

Kemp made a 66 to plonk herself into a tie for third with South Korean A Lim Kim.

The Sydneysider started on the back nine and made the turn on a down note, bogeying Nos.17 and 18. But she turned it around with a five-under 31 on the front nine.

The 36-year-old is looking for a good result to boost her up the Race to the CME Globe standings late in the year.

Kemp ranks just 100th entering the week. She's also having her wife Lisa caddie for her this week.

"I think Lisa had a really big factor into that today," Kemp said. "That's why I wanted to finish the year with somebody like her on the bag.

"Yeah, I really want to keep my job. I don't want to have to go back to Q-School."

The LPGA Tour returned to Cincinnati for the first time in 33 years and was greeted with a gorgeous day and plenty of good scoring.

That included a remarkable performance by 14-year-old Gianna Clemente, who made it through Monday qualifying for the third week in a row on the LPGA Tour and this time has a chance to play all four days. Clemente played bogey-free for a 70.

It did not include Lexi Thompson. One week after she played in the final group and didn't make a birdie until the 18th hole to tie for 16th, Thompson didn't make a single birdie in her round of 76, her highest of the year at a regular LPGA event.

Australia's Minjee Lee also had a miserable day, making a four-over 76. Compatriot Hannah Green opened with a two-under 70.

Leader Lin, coming off a tie for seventh at the Dana Open, playing in the afternoon and opened with three straight birdies on the back nine, made par, and then added two more birdies.

"That was a dream start. You can't ask for a better start," Lin said. "So I just tell myself, 'Need to keep going.''

The surprise was Clemente, who splits time between her native Ohio and Florida and lost in the championship match of the US Junior Girls this year.

For her third straight start, the teenager made only two birdies and very few mistakes. And she wasn't entirely satisfied.

"I feel good about it. Could have been a little better. I can think of a couple putts that maybe I should have made," Clemente said.

with Reuters