Record-tying day at Atlanta Athletic Club gives Nelly Korda lead at midway point of 2021 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship
It was a record-setting day for Nelly Korda at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. Even though she didn’t even realize what was happening.
“I guess I just blacked out there,” said Korda with a smile.
She had all the reasons in the world to be happy after her second round. Korda tied the Championship record score with a 9-under 63. It was the fifth 63 in Championship history. It also tied the course record at Atlanta Athletic Club.
Her second-nine score of 29 also tied the lowest nine-hole score in Championship history.
Korda, a two-time winner on the LPGA Tour already this season – including last week at the Meijer LPGA Classic when she shot 25-under for the week– joked that even her caddie “blacked out” a bit while they were going so low. She said she feels like her game is dialed in.
Korda missed the cut at the U.S. Women’s Open a few weeks ago and talked prior to the Championship this week at Atlanta Athletic Club about just trying to have more fun on the golf course and not take the game more seriously.
She was disappointed, and confused, in her effort at the U.S. Women’s
Open, she admitted.
“I mean, the shots I was hitting at the U.S. Open, I looked at (my caddie) and I’m like, ‘Have you ever seen this from me? And he’s like, ‘Nope.’ I just dialed in more on my irons and all the tendencies that I was making out at the U.S. Open, I was just pushing it out right and I wasn’t hitting any fairways,” said Korda. “To hit fairways and to hit those straight iron shots is what’s different about these two events.”
Her 10-birdie effort on Friday certainly seemed like a lot of fun – and being ‘in the moment’ is the kind of vibe she’s trying to take into more rounds moving forward. Her admission prior to the tournament on how she was doing, mentally, caught the eye of multi-time major winner Bubba Watson.
He posted a Tweet Friday that said, in part, “Keep having fun! It’s just golf.”
“Some days it’s a lot easier than others, and some days you’re just not having a good day, honestly, and your mental game and everything is just bad,” admitted Korda. “But obviously (being happy) is the mindset I want to take into every single day.”
Korda bogeyed her opening hole of the day (the par-4 10th) but righted the ship quickly with an immediate birdie on the par-4 11th. She added two more on her first nine (she started on the back) and then caught fire on the front nine. She added circles to her scorecard on No’s 4 through 9 to put a bow on the record-tying score.
It’s been a solid bounce-back week for Korda at this Championship. Last year she was forced to withdraw after the opening round of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship citing discomfort in her back.
At No. 3 in the world, Korda is hoping to take this Championship across the finish line and win her first major title. But she knows there is still a lot of golf left to be played – even after a third-round 62 last week and going low again this week.
“It’s a clean slate, honestly,” said Korda. “Just going out here and try to compete with the golf course, try to beat the golf course and see what kind of monster it is that day.”
Korda is being chased by fellow American Lizette Salas, who backed up her opening 67 with a matching 5-under on Friday. Salas, at 10-under, trails Korda by one heading into the weekend.
Salas is the only golfer who is bogey-free through 36 holes.
“I’m definitely satisfied. We came in with some goals and we’re reaching them,” said Salas. “
I think overall my attitude has been pretty solid. It's a major; it's supposed to be tough. It's supposed to test you in several different ways, and I think I'm handling it quite well, and back-to-back 67s, I'm not going to complain. I can go ahead and start analyzing my game and what could have happened, but at the same time I've done a lot of good things, and I think this is good momentum going into the weekend.”
Amongst those at the top of the leaderboard Korda wasn’t the only one who went low on Friday at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.
Just hours prior to Korda’s 63 it was Celine Boutier who put a bow on an 8- under 64. She climbed 36 spots on the leaderboard on Friday and is tied for third with Alena Sharp and Cydney Clanton at 7-under through two rounds.