The numbers steered a stress-free time within the desert for Nelly Korda, who had 5 birdies and a clear card Friday for a 5-under 67 to construct a two-shot lead going into the new weekend on the ANA Inspiration.
All she might take into consideration have been two pars.
The one fairway she missed was on her 11th gap, the par-5 second, and she or he was badly out of place your entire means till making an 18-foot par putt to flee her large mess. One gap later, after hitting a fats shot from the green, she once more needed to make a par putt from some 25 toes.
“I didn’t know what I used to be doing on these two holes,” Korda stated. “I used to be glad these two went in. Golf is simply all about momentum, so that you roll one in right here and there and it simply makes it rather a lot simpler.”
WATCH | Korda enters weekend with 2 shot lead in Rancho Mirage:
It solely figures to get more durable from right here.
Korda was at 11-under 133, two photographs away from Mirim Lee, who additionally performed bogey-free within the rising warmth for a 65. Becoming a member of them within the closing group is a frightening determine in these elements, Lexi Thompson, a previous champion at Mission Hills who can overpower the Dinah Shore course.
Henderson in competition
Brooke Henderson (71) of Smiths Falls, Ont., was tied for seventh at 5 beneath, six photographs again of Korda. Hamilton’s Alena Sharp (71) was tied for 61st at 2 over.
A day after her 23rd birthday, Henderson sunk an improvised birdie putt on the 14th gap together with her heels within the bunker.
WATCH | Henderson converts difficult birdie putt throughout second spherical:
Thompson made up floor shortly with three birdies in a four-hole stretch initially of her spherical, together with a 4-iron from 220 yards to six toes on the par-5 second (she missed the eagle putt) and a 9-iron from 164 yards on the par-Three fifth that led to a 15-foot birdie.
With the tee moved up on the par-5 18th, she swung for the fences and practically pulled it into the lake, saved by the September date as a result of the ball sinks as a substitute of rolls within the Bermuda tough. She settled for par and a 67 to complete 4 photographs behind, together with Nanna Koertz Madsen (69).
“I left a number of on the market, but additionally I made lots of good putts,” Thompson stated.
Kang slowed in second spherical
Danielle Kang appeared poised to hitch the chase, a giant week as a result of she is projected to succeed in No. 1 on the earth with a victory. Her momentum was slowed by bugs, a brick wall and a bridge.
Kang got here in too steep on a wedge from the 10th fairway and was 10 toes in need of the inexperienced. She opted to make use of her putter, however backed off 3 times from bugs flying round her face. Then, she left it 7 toes brief and missed the par putt. She stalked to the again of the inexperienced, clearly irritated, and it did not assist when she and Anna Nordqvist have been placed on the clock.
Kang was out of kinds, shortly strolling after missed putts. On the 15th, she pulled her tee shot close to a wall, and after asking if she might get aid — it was a boundary wall, so no — she hit into the wall attempting to get it again to the green. It went solely about 10 yards, and she or he needed to scramble for bogey.
After which on the 18th, her method ran by way of the inexperienced and simply onto the carpet-lined bridge throughout Poppie’s Pond. She pitched off the bridge to six toes and missed the birdie putt for a 71. She was six photographs again, nonetheless within the combine.
Korda retains tempo atop leaderboard
Korda, nevertheless, has appeared stable. Thompson’s title on the board stands out given her energy and document at Mission Hills.
Korda hit 13 fairways, not probably the most troublesome job with the plush Bermuda grass slicing again how a lot the ball rolls. Extra spectacular was lacking solely 4 greens, and taking 26 putts on greens already sun-baked and quick.
“Positively very proud of my placing in the present day, and I used to be fantastically proud of bogey-free,” she stated.
She picked up two birdies on the par 3s on the again 9 and appeared like she would possibly give these photographs again when she tugged her tee shot on No. 2. She thought-about taking a drop from the cart path till realizing she could be thick tough, so she hit 4-hybrid some 30 yards out to the suitable, leaving her no angle.
The greens have been pure within the morning, although getting the pace proper was essential as a result of they’re rolling out a number of additional toes, placing a good higher premium on tempo.
“The factor out right here is you hit a stable putt and it retains on going,” Korda stated. “You assume it should cease, and it simply retains on releasing, so then you definately’re like, `This can be a good putt, this might probably go in,’ after which it releases 5 to six toes as a result of that is simply how it’s out right here. I had lots of 5- and 6-footers for par in the present day.”
And she or he made all of them. That call to vary to a left-hand low grip on the Ladies’s Britsh Open three weeks in the past at Royal Troon seems to be like the suitable transfer. And her confidence is hovering.
The temperatures are trending that path, too, with a forecast of round 105 to 110 levels for the weekend.
The weekend will embody 5 of the six amateurs, tying a document at this occasion. Main the best way was Gabriela Ruffels at 5 beneath, with Rose Zhang one other shot again. Zhang received the U.S. Ladies’s Newbie final month to disclaim Ruffels back-to-back wins.