The Korean had to battle the worst of the Friday weather on the Fife coast.

Kim bogeyed her opening hole of the day to get her afternoon off to the worst possible start but soon recovered by grabbing the dropped shot back on the third.

One more birdie before the turn helped steady her round before seven pars, one birdie and an eagle on the back nine helped her home in 33 despite the heavy rain.

The weather didn’t dampen her mood, though, as she battled through to card a 68 and hold a two shot advantage over Georgia Hall and Lexi Thompson.

“I didn’t really know what I was shooting,” Kim told reporters.

“I just wanted to play at my own time because it was really hard – especially on the last four or five holes, when it kind of poured down.

“We were a little behind, so I just had to play and move forward.”

Hall and Thompson made use of the early conditions to card a 67 and 68 respectively to sit 9-under and two off the lead.

American Ally McDonald, who is making only her second ever appearance on a links course, remains 8-under and three back from the Korean.

Overnight leader Michelle Wie faltered just a day after breaking the course record (64) at Kingsbarns as she signed for a 76 following a double bogey on 17 fter finding the burn with her second shot.

One of the highlights of the day came on the par-3 14th as Jenny Shin grabbed a hole-in-one with a hybrid on her way to signing for a 69 to sit 5-under for the tournament.

Among the big name casualties to miss the cut at Kingsbarns were defending champion Ariya Jutanugarn after she carded a nine on the 12th, home favourite Catriona Matthew and 2017 KPMG champion Danielle Kang.

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