Kiwi golfer Lydia Ko has shot a sensational nine-under 63 at Kapolei Golf Club on Friday to sit firmly amongst the leaders after the second round at the Lotte Championship.
Ko, a two-time major champion who's seeking her first LPGA Tour victory since 2018, is now 24-under par over her last three rounds; including a final-round 62 last week at the year's first major where she nearly chased down eventual winner Patty Tavatanakit.
Ko now sits at 14-under at the halfway stage at Kapolei after an opening-round 67. She made nine birdies in a bogey-free second round that required just 24 putts.
First-round co-leader Yuka Saso continued her hot form to be leading Ko by two shots after shooting consecutive rounds of eight-under 64.
Three shots back, in joint third place, are Nelly Korda (68), So Yeon Ryu (68), Hyo Joo Kim (65) and Luna Sobron Galmes of Spain. Galmes who plays primarily on the Ladies European Tour and is ranked 233rd in the world, recorded 10 birdies in her round of 64.
A Lim Kim, who won the US Open in December, also shot 64 and was tied with Brianna Do (66) and Ally Ewing (69) at 10-under.
Ko credited her sensational final round at the ANA Inspiration, as well as her coach Sean Foley, as sources of confidence to begin this latest tournament on a high.
"I think that final round, I really took and fed on my momentum throughout the day. When you get off to a good start it sets the pace," Ko said.
"Sean has obviously helped a lot in the technical aspect, but he's been super helpful for me for a lot of things that go on between the ears. He has been there to slap me out of it if I'm not thinking right or overcomplicating it.
"He's just somebody that has built up a lot of confidence, and I think at the end of the day the confidence and belief in yourself is the 15th club in the bag and almost the most important club."
Despite Ko's unbelievable run of form, she says she's determined to keep working on her game and focus on the course, rather than the competition.
"Coming into this week obviously coming off the best round in a really long time, I kind of didn't know what to expect.
"Obviously you feel like your game is moving in the right direction but you don't want to kind of slack off.
"Every day is a new day. Some days I feel like I got it and the next day I feel like I'm doing the same thing and I don't even know what I'm doing anymore."