LOS ANGELES • The third-ranked Nelly Korda, chasing her first Major golf title, fired a five-under 67 to seize a two-stroke lead after the second round of the LPGA ANA Inspiration on Friday.
The American stood on 11-under 133 after 36 holes at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California, while South Korea’s Lee Mi-rim was second on 135 after a bogey-free 65.
Dane Nanna Madsen (69) and American Lexi Thompson (67) – the 2014 winner – were third on 137.
“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.
The younger daughter of former Czech tennis star Petr Korda, the 1998 Australian Open champion, began on the back nine, birdying the par-three 14th and 17th holes.
She then birdied the first and made key par saves from 20 feet at the par-five second and 25 feet at the par-four 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 also birdie the par-three eighth in the desert heat.
“Thank God for my putting today,” she said. “Just consistent play and having fun. We have a lot of fun on the golf course and try to keep it super light.”
The 22-year-old won last year’s Women’s Australian Open and French Ladies Open while defending her title at the LPGA Swinging Skirts Taiwan event.
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.”
NELLY KORDA , ranked third on the LPGA Tour, on making key par saves from 20 feet at the par-five second and 25 feet at the par-four third holes.
A win today would be a first for the Korda family – older sister Jessica also plays on the Tour but has yet to break her Major duck – and Thompson believes Nelly is the player to beat.
“She played really well,” the world No. 12, who won the 2014 edition here, said. “I’m just going to try to play my own game out here this weekend and see how it goes.”
Day 4: StarHub Ch204, tomorrow, 2am