Notes: I.K. Kim finds early lead Friday at USWO

I.K. Kim during the first round of the 2013 U.S. Women's Open at Sebonack Golf Club.

I.K. Kim during the first round of the 2013 U.S. Women's Open at Sebonack Golf Club.

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. – I.K. Kim is one of the deeper thinkers on the LPGA tour, and so couldn’t help but wonder when she left Sebonack late Thursday evening what Friday’s setup might hold. She stopped thinking about it, however, when she heard the rain and thunder pass through late last night.

“There’s nothing I can do (about) what they are going to do (to the course) because I’m not them,” Kim said. The U.S. Golf Association was generous on Thursday, cutting nearly 300 yards from the setup.

Kim returned to the course early Friday morning, and got her round started under a hazy sky that stuck around into the early afternoon. Stronger winds, faster greens and tougher pin placements contributed to higher scores. Kim followed her opening 68 with a second-round 69, and at 7 under was the clubhouse leader after the first half of the day.

Kim and World No. 1 Inbee Park have played on opposite sides of the tee sheet for the past two days, but have a good chance at playing together on the weekend. The history between these two players goes far back. Kim, 25, had to defeat Park, 24, in the final to win the 2005 U.S. Girls’ Junior.

• • •

LOST AND FOUND: After retracing her steps from the 18th green past the stands and back, Lizette Salas hustled to her golf bag outside the scoring tent. For a few brief minutes after Friday’s round, Salas couldn’t find the card on which she had been keeping competitor Angela Stanford’s score.

As she dug through all the pockets on her stand bag, a USGA official delivered the missing card, which a fan had picked up near the 18th green. Crisis averted, Salas proceeded to sign for her own even-par 72, which left her in fourth after the completion of the morning wave.

Salas’ name tends to pop up in major championships. She tied for 15th at the 2011 Women’s Open and tied for 32nd last year after holding the first-round lead. Salas also tied for 25th at Kraft Nabisco Championship in April after starting the final round in second place. Those experienes have improved her mental toughness.

“If it comes to the weekend and I’m in contention, I really believe I can manage my patience and manage my nerves,” she said Thursday after an opening 68.

• • •

FULL HOUSE: Jessica Korda, 20, doesn’t travel with a full family entourage anymore. This season, she’s taken to the LPGA tour by herself, but Women’s Open week has been an exception because younger sister Nelly, 14, qualified. The Kordas are sharing one big house this week, which hasn’t turned out to be quite as hectic as Jessica orginially thought.

“I know that you can't have it every week, but I'm really glad that everybody could come out this week,” she said.

Jessica, playing in Friday’s morning wave is near the top of the leaderboard at 3 under. Nelly, in the afternoon wave, hovered safely above the cutline mid-afternoon.

• • •

MAKE SOME NOISE: Annie Park’s crowd was vocal on Friday. The throng of Long Islanders who followed one of their own around Sebonack roared as Park displayed the ball-striking for which she’s come to be known. Park hit 13 fairways but the putting just wasn’t there, which resulted in a second-round 75.

“It was still frustrating that I just couldn’t make any putts, especially like short putts for birdie,” Park said. “Mentally, it was frustrating.”

Park likely will miss the cut after rounds of 79-75, but progress sometimes is measured in baby steps. Park’s 10-over 154 total is 11 shots better than last year, her Women’s Open debut.

Besides, a weekend off wouldn’t be so bad. Summer school starts Monday at a local community college for the USC sophomore.

• • •

POLAR OPPOSITES: Thursday leader Ha-Neul Kim’s round was derailed early by a double bogey at No. 6. She followed with another double at No. 12, shooting 77 to effectively take herself out of the picture for Friday. Kim, whose first name means “Sky” in Korean, shot 66 in Round 1.

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