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Grace Kim Leads LPGA Los Angeles Championship with flawless performance

Grace Kim demonstrated an exceptional performance at the LPGA Los Angeles Championship on Thursday, securing a one-shot lead with a remarkable seven-under-par 64. Her round, highlighted by an impressive tally of seven birdies, culminated in a stunning birdie on the 18th hole, leaving spectators in awe.

Reflecting on her game, Kim highlighted an unexpected highlight where a tee shot mishap turned into a chip-in birdie, describing it as “pretty cool.” Despite this excitement, Kim emphasized the smoothness of her day, crediting her accurate shots and solid performance on the fairways for creating numerous birdie opportunities.

Sharing the top position was Sweden’s Maja Stark, who exhibited resilience by playing without a bogey and capitalizing on birdie chances despite battling fatigue from her recent runner-up finish at the Chevron Championship. Stark’s determination was evident as she navigated the course, focusing on essential practice to maintain her competitive edge.

The absence of world number one Nelly Korda, who withdrew from the event to recover after her remarkable victory at the Chevron Championship, offered opportunities for contenders like Kim to shine. Drawing from lessons learned from previous tournaments, Kim emphasized a simplified mental approach that proved effective in her outstanding performance.

Chanettee Wannasaen also impressed with her round featuring seven birdies, briefly sharing the second spot before a lone bogey at the 16th. South Korean Kim Sei-young’s late surge, powered by six birdies, demonstrated her prowess as she climbed the leaderboard with a strong finish.

The competition remained intense, with Americans Auston Kim and South Korean Ryu Hae-ran, along with Russian Nataliya Guseva, closely trailing just two shots behind the leader. Defending champion Hannah Green, alongside Bianca Pagdanganan of the Philippines and South Korean Amy Yang, stayed within striking distance, poised to challenge for the title.

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