Seo leads Kia Classic, Wie 2 back

Hee Kyung Kim leads the Kia Classic by one shot after Round 2.

Hee Kyung Kim leads the Kia Classic by one shot after Round 2.

Scores

Kia Classic (Rd. 2)

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.

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