In-Kyung Kim shot a 7-under par 65 on Friday and will take a three-shot lead into halftime of the ANA Inspiration.
The 30-year old Korean signed for a card comprised of just one bogey against eight birdies, including a final gain on the 18th, to secure the marquee position on 8-under par.
“I’m just going out and have fun,” said Kim, who hit 11 of 14 fairways and 14 of 18 greens on day two in Rancho Mirage, California. “I don’t feel like I have to do anything else but getting the right yardage and checking the wind.”
Kim will tee off Saturday (2:01 pm local time) with Australian Katherine Kirk, who posted a second-day 68 to reach 5 under, good for sole possession of second-place.
Overnight leader Ally McDonald (72) and Jin Young Ko were one further back on 4-under par.
A group of five players were T5 on 3-under par, including Jin Yang (71), and four major winners in Danielle Kang (69), Charley Hull (69), Sung Hyun Park (70), and Lexi Thompson (72).
Defending champion Pernilla Lindberg shot a 6-over 78, and missed the cut by two strokes.
Through two rounds at a windy Mission Hills Country Club, only 18 of the 77 players who’ve made the cut were under par, and only six have produced both rounds in the red.
Pos-Player-To Par (Rd 2)
1. I.K. Kim -8 (-7)
2. Katherine Kirk -5 (-4)
3. Jin Young Ko -4 (-1)
3. Ally McDonald -4 (E)
5. Danielle Kang -3 (3)
5. Charley Hull -3 (-3)
5. Sung Hyun Park -3 (-2)
5. Lexi Thompson -3 (E)
5. Jin Yang -3 (-1)
1:21 pm: Lexi Thompson (-3), Jeongeun Lee (-2)
1:31 pm: Sung Hyun Park (-3), Jing Yang (-3)
1:41 pm: Danielle Kang (-3), Charley Hull (-3)
1:51 pm: Jin Young Ko (-4), Ally McDonald (-4)
2:01 pm: I.K. Kim (-8), Katherine Kirk (-5)
TV: Golf Channel, 5-9 pm (EST)