JOHNS CREEK, Georgia – Praise the crowd, says Nelly Korda for giving her the adrenaline it takes to hit a record 9 under 63 in the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship on Friday. On Tuesday, Korda said she felt like she was being hit by a bus during her Pro-Am round.
The 22-year-old gives props to everyone who walks in a row and notes how much energy it takes to win on the LPGA. After taking her second title of the year at the Meijer LPGA Classic last week – with a 62 in the second round – Korda is one stroke ahead of Lizette Salas with 11 under 133 for the weekend at the Atlanta Athletic Club’s Highlands Course.
Korda, who wants to break through with her first major title, was the fifth player in the history of the Women’s PGA to score 63, alongside Patty Sheehan (1984), Meg Mallon (1999), Kelly Shon (2017) and Sei Young Kim, she set up Sunday Scorchers at Aronimink Golf Club last year.
“I guess I just passed out out there,” Korda said of six consecutive birdies she made for a 29 on the top nine (her back nine). It’s worth noting that she opened her round with a bogey.
Korda’s caddy Jason McDede said her second shot in the second par-5 hole was one of the top 10 shots he has ever hit. She hit 3-wood out of 240 in the wind from a hanging lie at 10 feet and knocked out the putt for Eagle.
She placed a second eagle putt on the wheeled par 4 six, which she reached with a 7 stick.
“I’ve seen some footage that I’ve probably never seen out there,” said McDede.
He also attributed a fun, relaxing group at Georgia Hall and Lydia Ko, “the best cheerleader on the tour”.
“Honestly, when you play with players like that,” said Nelly, “and you have fun, the bad shots aren’t that bad either.”
The first lap leader, Salas, carded a second 67 in a row and has yet to bogey over the Highlands Course.
“It wasn’t stress-free,” said Salas. “At these water holes we talked about the fact that if I had had a whoop on me, my heart rate would just have shot up, I think it was either 15, the long par-3 – in the late afternoon with increasing wind, this course is not easy. That’s for sure.”
Photos: KPMG Women’s PGA Championship 2021 at the Atlanta Athletic Club
Celine Boutier certainly made it look breezy with a second-round 64 that brought her to third place with Alena Sharp (68) and Cydney Clanton (67).
Seven-time major winner Inbee Park faces a more difficult task for the PGA of America on Saturday.
“It can get really tough with pins inserted on this golf course,” said Park, who has six strokes back and a stake of seventh. “I think it can be a completely different golf course tomorrow. Hopefully it just dries up like that.
“The golf course looks beautiful.”
Michelle Wie West shot 69 to beat number 2, her first time since the 2018 Women’s PGA at Kemper Lakes, which played at a major over the weekend.
Jessica Korda, trying to get fourth and last place for Team USA, is 3 under in 19th place. She insists she doesn’t think about Tokyo.
“Not at all,” Korda said to reporters after her round. “I don’t know why you keep asking me this question. It’s a big championship so that’s what I’m focusing on. Ask me Monday. “