Sei Young Kim answers Ally McDonald's ace with birdie spree at Pelican Women's Championship

Ally McDonald gave herself a big birthday present Sunday, winning the LPGA Drive On Championship-Lake Reynolds Oconee for her first tour title.

Brooke Henderson of Smith Falls, Ont., tied for 5th heading into final round

Sei Young Kim of Korea sits atop the Pelican Women's Championship leaderboard with a five-stroke lead on Saturday heading into the final round. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Sei Young Kim answered Ally McDonald's ace with a late birdie run to open a five-stroke lead Saturday in the Pelican Women's Championship, the South Korean's first event since winning the KPMG Women's PGA a month and half ago.

The second-ranked Kim shot a 6-under 64, birdieing Nos. 14-17, to get to 14-under 196 at Pelican Golf Club.

"She made a hole-in-one, we almost one-shot lead," Kim said. "I got a little bit pressure, but I try to focus on my game."

Brooke Henderson of Smith Falls, Ont., finished Saturday tied for fifth at 6-under 66. Hamilton's Alena Sharp sits at 19th.

WATCH | Henderson remains in contention heading into final round:

Brooke Henderson's impressive shots keeps her in the hunt

2 years ago
Duration 1:23
Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ont., shot 4-under 66 in the 3rd round of Pelican Women's Championship and is tied for 5th.

McDonald shot 68. She had the hole-in-one on the par-3 12th and birdied the par-5 14th to get close to Kim. The American dropped a stroke on the par-4 16th.

WATCH | American Ally McDonald hits hole-in-one on 12th hole:

Ally McDonald sinks ace at Pelican Women's Championship

2 years ago
Duration 2:01
American Ally McDonald hits hole-in-one on 12th hole, sits 2nd place at Pelican Women's Championship.

"It was playing like 115 front, 127 hole, and there was a little bit of downwind," McDonald said. "So, I thought a 115 shot, just playing the front edge, would be enough to pitch it a few yards on and let it release.

"Honestly, this is kind of how my strategy works, was everything told me to look a couple paces right of it, so I did. That's kind of my strategy, because I wasn't looking at the hole, but then it went in."

Kim's victory last month at Aronimink was her 11th on the LPGA Tour and first major title.

"I feel like same, but when standing on the first tee, like announcer, `This is a major champion, Sei Young Kim.' When I heard that, feels like, `Oh, yeah, I got that."'

She left McDonald behind with the birdie spree.

WATCH | Sei Young Kim tops leaderbaord:

Sei Young Kim ahead by 5 shots at Pelican Women's Championship

2 years ago
Duration 1:57
South Korea's Sei Young Kim shoots 6-under 64 in the 3rd round of the Pelican Women's Championship, leads by 5 strokes over Ally McDonald.

"I just trying to keep push myself until the last hole," Kim said. "Just keep pushing. I think that is way to make more birdies."

Late struggles

McDonald struggled on the greens late.

"I felt like I played really solid during that stretch," McDonald said. "I hit good shots. Just unfortunately, my speed got a little off, especially 16, 17, 18. For a little bit, I kind of lost my touch with the putter."

Stephanie Meadow was third at 8 under after a 68 in the first-year tournament originally set for the same week as the PGA Championship in May

Lydia Ko (66) was 7 under, and Minjee Lee (67) and Austin Ernst (65) were 6 under.

Top-ranked Jin Young Ko was tied for 28th at 2 over after a 69 in her first LPGA Tour event of the year. No. 1 in the world for the last 68 weeks, she has been home in South Korea since the COVID-19 pandemic. She plans to play three straight tournaments through the U.S. Women's Open.

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