Grace Kim’s resurgence has given Australia another hope of a title in Japan.
Kim, 18, started the day 10 shots off the pace, but early birdies on two, three and six enabled the Sydneysider to charge up the Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific leaderboard.
Her birdie rampage continued on the back nine and her six-under 66 was the day’s lowest round.
Round one leader and Australian teammate Becky Kay momentarily reclaimed the lead after a spectacular chip-in from the back of the fourth green.
But a series of unfortunate lip-outs left the Queenslander at one over for the day in a share of fourth overall with Japan’s Yuna Nishimura and Korea’s Ye Won Lee at even par.
Kim will be looking to continue today’s form when she begins the final 18-hole showdown one shot back from Kay, and five shots from new leader Yuka Yasuda, of Japan.
“Today was about getting my head in the right space, hitting greens and two-putting,” said Kim, the 2018 Australian Order of Merit winner.
“I got off to a pretty steady start making par on the first hole which got me going and then the second hole I boxed a 40-footer for birdie.”
After tumultuous conditions caused havoc for the field yesterday, Kim credited a hot putter for her 15-shot turnaround.
“Today was going to be another tough day considering the weather,” the world No.69 said.
“I wasn’t really focused on my score because I tend to get a bit `score focused’, which gets me in the wrong head space.
“I reflected upon what I could have done better yesterday, which was not think about what happened on previous holes. I really applied that into my game today which helped.”
Kay, who set a course record during round one – an eight-under-par 64 – found solace in her day despite knowing she left a lot of putts begging.
“Today I played really well although nothing really went my way,” said the Gold Coaster.
“I had a big horseshoe and four lip-outs, which is tough.
“I didn’t really do anything wrong, which is a bit disappointing, but I’m still in the mix.
“If I birdie my par-5s and hole my little putts, I can definitely have a chance for tomorrow.”
Yasuda will take a two-shot advantage over defending champion Atthaya Thitikul and Australian Amateur champion Yae Eun Hong into the final 18 holes.
Meanwhile, Doey Choi signed for a three over 75 to sit in a share of 29th with Steph Kyriacou at 12 over after 54 holes.
Victoria’s Julienne Soo sits alone at 40th, while West Australian Maddison Hinson-Tolchard is a further five shots back in T48.
The winner, to be crowned on Sunday afternoon, will earn invitations to play in two major championships – the Women’s British Open and the Evian Championship – and the 2020 Augusta National Women’s Amateur.