JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — Nelly Korda realized there have been low scores accessible Friday at Atlanta Athletic Membership. For the longest time, she could not discover them within the KPMG Ladies’s PGA Championship.
After which the birdies got here in bushels, one after one other, six straight to shut her second spherical that put her within the document e book with a 9-under 63 and gave her a one-shot lead over Lizette Salas going into the weekend.
“Golf is simple when you’ve gotten days like this,” Korda stated. “But it surely’s not at all times like this.”
It certain appears that means of late. Korda shot 62 within the third spherical final week on her technique to profitable the Meijer LPGA Basic, making the 22-year-old American the primary a number of winner on the LPGA Tour this 12 months.
This spherical may need been even higher.
Over her last six holes on the entrance 9, Korda made birdie on each par 3s guarded in entrance by water. She had eagle putts on consecutive holes — one in every of them on the par-4 sixth, with the tee moved as much as make it play 229 yards — and narrowly missed them each.
On the toughest gap on the course, she needed to cope with a tree root in entrance of her ball to get to the inexperienced after which made a 45-foot birdie putt. Korda closed out her spherical with a pitching wedge into 8 ft.
“I assume I simply blacked out, a bit like final week,” Korda stated.
She was at 11-under 133, one shot forward of Salas, who hit all 18 greens in regulation, shot one other 67 and has but to make a bogey by way of 36 holes.
Korda tied the championship document, final set a 12 months in the past when Sei Younger Kim closed with a 63 to win at Aronimink. She had the third spherical of 63 at Atlanta Athletic Membership in a significant, becoming a member of Steve Stricker in 2011 and Mark O’Meara in 2001 on the PGA Championship.
And Korda nonetheless has work left in entrance of her if she needs to win her first main.
Salas did not come near a mistake together with her regular weight loss plan of fairways and greens. That was her plan coming in, and the 31-year-old American has executed it brilliantly.
“I am positively happy,” Salas stated. “We got here in with some objectives, and we’re reaching them. I feel general my perspective has been fairly strong. It is a main. It is purported to be robust. It is supposed to check you in a number of alternative ways, and I feel I am dealing with it fairly properly. And back-to-back 67s, I am not going to complain.”
Celine Boutier of France drove the sixth inexperienced to eight ft for an eagle on her technique to a 64 that left her 4 photographs again at 7-under 137 with Cydney Clanton (67) and Alena Sharp (68).
Nonetheless lurking was seven-time main champion Inbee Park, rounding into kind as she goes for one more gold within the Olympics, who holed a chip for eagle and shot 68. She was six behind.
Korda, with 5 LPGA Tour victories, has by no means received back-to-back and spoke about how draining it was earlier within the 12 months after she received at Lake Nona.
Having spectators on the Highlands course has helped, and she or he gave them loads to cheer together with her 10 birdies, which adopted her lone bogey firstly of her spherical at No. 10.
“I positively noticed some low ones,” Korda stated of the morning scores. “On my entrance 9 I used to be like, ‘The place is everybody making birdies?'”
She discovered them, together with two reachable par 5s and the drivable par 4.
Korda’s large end started with a 7-iron to twenty ft. She adopted that we a 7-wood onto the inexperienced on the par-5 fifth – her caddie informed her to not go on the pin, however she could not resist – after which the 7-wood to the inexperienced on the reachable sixth and her finest shot of the day, a 5-iron to five ft on the par-3 seventh.
The shock was the large putt on No. 8, and the ultimate birdie was the perfect technique to shut out a spherical like that one.
Korda is not one to linger on the earlier week, even when it resulted in a trophy.
“Once you win, it is exhausting,” she stated. “I’ve by no means received in direction of the tip of my stretch, I’ve at all times received sort of like in the beginning. It does not even sort of soak in that I’ve received. In a way you sort of do not even get to take pleasure in it as a result of I received after which, ‘Hey, it is a main championship, like prepare.’
“They’re two fully totally different golf programs and two totally different methods. It is simply good golf that I have been enjoying, and hopefully I can proceed on with that.”
Maria Fassi misplaced two strokes to a penalty for sluggish play, turning a birdie right into a bogey on the 18th as she made the flip. The previous NCAA champion from Mexico had a 77 and she or he missed the lower by one shot.