Kim Kaufman opens up two-shot lead at Vic Open

American Kim Kaufman is the new leader at the LPGA’s ISPS Handa Vic Open after firing a second consecutive 66 in Friday’s second round.

This is the first year that the Vic Open is debuting its innovative new format, which sees men and women contesting separate championships at 13th Beach Golf Links in Barwon Heads, Victoria, for equal prize money.

All four rounds are played in alternating men’s and women’s tee times on the Beach and Creek Courses.

Kaufman, who was diagnosed with glandular fever in 2018 but has now returned to full fitness, had a 36-hole total of 13-under after mixing six birdies and an eagle with a solitary bogey in her seven-under-par round.

“The last time I was in the final group on a Sunday was at the 2017 Tour Championship,” she said. “It’s just nice to be back. It was a long year last year, but you just have to keep working hard and believing in yourself.”

Kaufman lies two shots clear of Japan’s Haru Nomura, with Australian Su Oh another stroke behind in third.

England’s Charlotte Thomas follows a further shot back after a pair of 68s, while Australian veteran Karrie Webb, Alena Sharp, Marissa Steen and Olivia Cowan share fifth place a on seven under par.

Leading the way in the men’s competition are Aussie duo Jason Scrivener and Nick Flanagan.