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Hee Kyung Seo takes over the lead with a 67

South Korea’s Hee Kyung Seo shot a 5-under-67 on Friday to take the lead while Michelle Wie also shot a 67 to pull into contention after two rounds in the inaugural Kia Classic at La Costa.

The 23-year-old Seo, playing on a sponsor’s exemption and in only her sixth LPGA tournament, 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.

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, trying for her second win as a professional, had six birdies and a bogey.

First-round leader Na On Min stumbled with a 74 to drop into a share of 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 a 75, dropping into a 27th place, 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 struggle at La Costa. She followed her opening 74 with a 72 and was in a share of 37th place.

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 in tournaments this year, Wie has finished in 22nd and 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.”

Scores

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