CARLSBAD, Calif. – Playing at La Costa has left a big impression on Hee Kyung Seo.
Not only did the 23-year-old South Korean jump into the lead of the inaugural Kia Classic with a 5-under 67 on Friday, but she managed to eyeball some pricey Southern California real estate.
“It’s beautiful, and I like the house on the course,” she said after taking a one-stroke lead. “If I get lots of money, I want to buy it.”
She couldn’t remember which hole the house was on, just that it was a wood house on a hill.
If she wins this tournament, the $255,000 first prize would go a long way toward making a down payment.
Michelle Wie also shot a 67 to pull into contention after two rounds. Wie is trying for her second win as a professional.
Seo is playing in her sixth LPGA tournament. She won 11 times on the KLPGA Tour the last two years. Her bogey-free round gave her a two-day total of 7-under 137.
“If I get a win here, I can get a card for tournaments here, so that’s very big,” she said.
South Korea’s In-Kyung Kim (69) was a stroke back, and Wie, Vicky Hurst (68), Song-Hee Kim (68) and Seon Hwa Lee (71) were 5 under. Wie had six birdies and a bogey.
First-round leader Na On Min stumbled with a 74 to drop into a tie for seventh at 4 under. A day after carding six birdies, she had three bogeys and a double bogey to go along with three birdies.
Lorena Ochoa, the world’s top-ranked player, also struggled. She had four bogeys and a double bogey in shooting a 75, dropping into a tie for 27th, eight shots back.
Japanese star Ai Miyazato, the first LPGA Tour player in 44 years to sweep the first two events of a season, continued to lag well behind. She followed her opening-round 74 with a 72 and was in a tie for 37th, nine back.
No LPGA player has won the first three tournaments in a season.
Wie earned her elusive first win as a professional at the end of last season at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Mexico.
“It’s kind of a little bit of a confidence factor, like I know I’ve done it before so maybe I can do it again kind of thing,” she said.
So far this year, Wie has finished in a tie for 22nd and a tie for 15th.
Wie said she had better shots with her irons on Friday.
“I definitely feel confident and comfortable,” Wie said. “Hopefully tomorrow and the day after I can keep that going where I don’t think about much and just play.”
Wie said her par saves were as big as her birdies.
On her sixth hole, the par-4 15th, she overshot the green onto a cart path, tried to bump it through the rough, then chipped in from 20 feet to save par.