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Lydia Ko backs up impressive opening round with flawless nine-under second round in Hawaii

Lydia Ko went low again, shooting a 9-under 63 at Kapolei Golf Club today to take a three-stroke lead midway through the second round at the Lotte Championship.

Lydia Ko of New Zealand plays a tee shot on the 16th hole during the second round of the LPGA LOTTE Championship at Kapolei Golf Club on April 15, 2021 in Kapolei, Hawaii. Source: Getty

Ko, a two-time major champion who's seeking her first win since 2018, is 24 under par her last three rounds. She nearly caught Patty Tavatanakit with a final-round 62 last week at the year's first major, the ANA Inspiration.

Ko had an opening-round 67 at Kapolei and was 14 under at the midpoint. The 23-year-old from New Zealand made nine birdies in her bogey-free second round and needed just 24 putts.

With half the field still on the course, Ko's closest pursuers were fourth-ranked Nelly Korda (68) and Luna Sobron Galmes of Spain, who had 10 birdies and shot 64. Sobron Galmes plays primarily on the Ladies European Tour and is ranked 233rd.

A Lim Kim, who won the US Women's Open in December, shot 64 and was tied with Brianna Do (66) at 10 under.

Tadd Fujikawa, who at 16 made the cut in the PGA Tour's 2007 Sony Open in Hawaii, is Do's caddie this week on his home course.

Seventeen-year-old Rose Zhang (68), the world's top-ranked amateur, was five shots back. Brooke Henderson, the 2018 and 2019 Lotte winner, was six back after her second 68. Last year's tournament was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.