LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Nelly Korda, chasing her first major golf title, fired a five-under-par 67 to seize a two-stroke clubhouse lead in Friday’s (Sept 11) second round of the LPGA ANA Inspiration.
The 22-year-old American daughter of Czech tennis star Petr Korda, the 1998 Australian Open champion, stood on 11-under 133 after 36 holes at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California.
“Everything in golf I feel like is all about confidence and momentum, so just having that confidence and believing in yourself is definitely really important,” Korda said.
“Just consistent play and having fun. We have a lot of fun on the golf course and try to keep it super light.”
South Korea’s Lee Mi-rim was second on 135 after a bogey-free 65 with Denmark’s Nanna Madsen third on 137 after a 69 and South Korea’s Chun In-gee on 138 after a 71.
Korda, who began on the back nine, birdied the par-3 14th and 17th holes then birdied the first and made key par saves from 20 feet at the par-5 second and 25 feet at the par-4 third.
“Definitely really important. I did not know what I was doing on those two holes. I was happy those two (par putts) went in.
“Golf is all about momentum. When those roll in, it makes it a lot easier.”
Korda, who led by one after 18 holes, rolled in a 10-foot downhill putt to birdie the par-3 eighth as well.
“Thank God for my putting today,” she said.
Korda won last year’s Women’s Australian Open and French Ladies Open while defending her title at the LPGA Swinging Skirts Taiwan event.
Lee birdied the par-5 second and ninth holes as well as the par-3 fifth, then opened the back nine with a birdie and birdied three of the last five holes to stand second.
Madsen birdied the par-5 ninth and 11th holes and sank another at the par-3 17th in a bogey-free round.
Chun began on the back nine with back-to-back bogeys, but ran off three birdies in a row starting at 18.
“I started to focus after first and second hole. Good concentration after,” Chun said. “I kept trying. Enjoyed the play out there. It was a great comeback.”
Chun, whose major titles include the 2015 US Women’s Open and 2016 Evian Championship, found her love of golf after the coronavirus layoff.
“Did weight training when we got the break,” she said. “Now I’ve got the passion back to play golf a lot.”