Su-Yeon Jang claimed the lead in the Lotte Championship by building up a three-stroke cushion after the third round Friday afternoon.
Canada's Alena Sharp (66) and Cristie Kerr (62) of the U.S. are tied for second at 14-under 202 in the tournament which has featured weather delays in each of the first three rounds. Kim rolled in nine birdies Thursday and had just one bogey as she rocketed from a tie for 48th after the first round to become the co-leader with Thailand star Ariya Jutanugarn when play was suspended for the day. "But I know I'm so far away from home and I travel so long to play this tournament, so I try to tell myself just to suck it up and have a good time and play a good round today".
Ko said she is unfazed by talk around her ranking - she acknowledges the talent on course but just wants to continue to improve her own game.
Tournament leader Jang plays the majority of her golf on the Korean LPGA and is playing this event under a sponsor's exemption. There are five golfers at 7 under, including second-ranked So Yeon Ryu (69), coming off a victory in the major ANA Inspiration, and Olympic champion Inbee Park.
Instead Jang, ranked 68th in the world, won twice on the Korean LPGA tour a year ago and finished third on the money list.
She was brilliant, and has been in almost every round she's played at Ko Olina the last two years.
"Being on the LPGA and having an opportunity to play with these players that I've never had an opportunity to play with is fantastic", said Jang, via a translator.
Englishman James Heath's 4-over 77 was unremarkable except for his experience on No. 17, where the former Augusta State golfer chose to remove his pants, shoes, and socks to play a chip out of shallow water in shirt, cap, and underwear. Ko turns 20 in 10 days and was born the same year Kerr debuted on the tour.
Lee, 20, is defending the Lotte Championship that she won previous year in Hawaii. Lindy Duncan holed out on the 18th early Friday for eagle to make the cut.
Lewis birdied four of her first five holes to get to eight under early.