Gina Kim fired a 4-under par 69 in round two of the Inova Mission Inn Resort & Club Championship to snag a two-shot lead at 11-under par through 36 holes. The Duke University alumna recorded six birdies Saturday on the El Campeón Course at Mission Inn Resort & Club in Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla.
“It takes a lot of commitment on some tee lines because it is narrow and there are some interesting dog legs,” said Kim. “My ball striking was pretty consistent, and I’ve been reading greens well. Having a simple mindset and not rushing myself has been key to shooting low scores. I feel a lot more confident after these Epson Tour events [in Florida].”
The highlight of her round was a chip-in birdie on the par-4 11th.
“I was on the edge of taking a putter and being aggressive or taking a wedge and nipping at it perfectly. I took those two clubs and last minute, just felt better with the wedge based on where the pin was,” said Kim. “I was like, ‘Wow, it has a good line,’ then, ‘Oh my gosh, this might drop,’ and it did. I executed the way I wanted to today.”
LPGA Tour member Maria Fassi carded the round of the day with a bogey-free, 7-under par 66. She sits two strokes back of Kim at 9-under par overall.
“My feel in my game is where I want. I’m hitting the shots I want to hit and rolling the ball pretty good on the greens,” said Fassi. “It’s both refreshing and encouraging because I know if I keep doing the same things, I have a chance for a good round tomorrow and a victory.”
In the first two rounds of the Inova Mission Inn Resort & Club Championship, the University of Arkansas alumna is a combined 9-under par on the four-hole stretch from Nos. 5-8. That includes a birdie-birdie-eagle-birdie performance on Saturday.
“I had been hitting it good all day and a lot of yesterday, as well. For some reason, the last few holes on the front nine I really like,” Fassi said. “When I reach that point, I kept thinking of the birdies I had made yesterday and tried to replicate that. It was actually event better today.”
Amy Lee signed for a second consecutive 69 and will round out Sunday’s final grouping off No. 1 tee at 9:50 a.m. ET.
“I hit the ball really good. To be honest, over the last couple of days I have probably missed four or five four-foot putts. I’m hitting it great, so hopefully the putts will fall tomorrow,” said Lee. “I’ll just keep my head down and focus on what I have to do [to get it done].”
Gigi Stoll (71) holds down fourth place at 7-under par, while four players are -6 to share fifth. A total of 64 competitors made the cut of 2-over par.
Gigi Stoll (-7, 4th) on her battle with No. 1 and mentality heading into the final round:
“I didn’t get off to a good start [finding the hazard off the tee both rounds]. Yesterday, I went out from a delay and played No. 1, then today didn’t start as hot as I wanted. I saved par yesterday, so I wasn’t too worried about playing No. 1 again. Getting up and down was huge, stuck it to a couple feet and knocked it in. I’m excited to be in contention. Last week I was in contention and got that feeling. It’s nice to be where I am right now.”
Caroline Inglis (-6, T5) on her nine birdies in the second round and bet with her husband:
“I was begging my husband for a puppy for like three years and we had a bet that if I made a hole-in-one during a tournament, or nine birdies, then I could get a dog. We literally got a dog like 10 months ago, he finally caved during COVID. I texted him after the round, ‘So, do I get another puppy?’ He was like, ‘It is hard enough taking care of one.’ I should get something, though. The par-5s are reachable with hybrid or iron, definitely took advantage of those. Made putts, which is something I’ve been working on with my coach as I switched putters a couple weeks ago to a Toulon right before [Cognizant] Founders Cup.”
Gabby Lemieux (-5, 9th) on her 5-under 68 and turnaround from Friday to Saturday:
“I hit three fairways and eight greens [in regulation] yesterday, so I was just trying to improve on that. The putter finally got hot, which helped give me opportunities. I am working on what is in front of me. I was focused on every shot.”