U.S.’s Nelly Korda builds 4-shot lead at Olympics

Golf

KAWAGOE, Japan — Already along with her first main title and the No. 1 rating, Nelly Korda took an enormous step towards a gold medal Thursday with a 9-under 62 that tied an Olympic report and gave her a four-shot lead.

Nonetheless to be decided was how a lot golf was left to be performed within the girls’s competitors.

Korda appeared dominant as ever, and the 23-year-old American made it look simple, at the very least till she reached the ultimate gap at Kasumigaseki Nation Membership.

Her tee shot bounded by the sun-baked fairway into the tough, with a thick limb from a pine tree blocking her path to the flag. As a substitute of taking a threat, she pitched down the green, got here up brief right into a bunker along with her wedge to a entrance pin and wound up with double bogey.

Her 62 nonetheless tied the Olympic girls’s report set by Maria Verchenova of Russia final time within the closing spherical at Olympic Golf Course in Rio de Janeiro.

Korda, who gained the Girls’s PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Membership six weeks in the past, was pondering extra in regards to the measurement of her lead than having an opportunity to turn into solely the second girl to shoot 59.

“I wasn’t fascinated by it in any respect,” she mentioned of a birdie for 59. “I used to be like, ‘Oh, cool, I’ve a reasonably good lead going into 18.’ Unlucky that double on 18, however that is golf and that is simply the way it goes generally.”

Every little thing else went simply fantastic. She was at 13-under 129, 4 pictures away from the Danish duo of Nanna Koerstz Madsen and Emily Kristine Pederson, and Aditi Ashok of India, who’s giving up loads of distance and little else in her bid for a medal.

Madsen was 6 underneath by eight holes to set the early tempo on one other blistering day by which gamers usually walked exterior the ropes within the shade of bushes. Her putter cooled on the again 9 and she or he posted a 64.

Ashok, the 23-year-old who was usually some 30 yards behind Madsen, completed with three birdies putt inside 10 ft over her final 4 holes for a 66. Ashok has just one bogey by the opening 36 holes.

Pederson had eight birdies and an eagle in her spherical of 63 to affix the group at 9-under 133.

Korda was simply hitting her stride after they completed. She holed a double-breaking 15-foot birdie putt on the fifth, drove the 245-yard sixth gap with a 3-wood, made a 25-foot eagle putt, birdied the subsequent two and by no means actually stopped.

It was a clinic of fairways and greens, birdie putts and no stress aside from attempting to maintain from overheating. The main stored rising, particularly within the closing hour when she made a 6-foot birdie on the par-3 sixteenth after which hit wedge into 6 ft on the seventeenth.

It left her in nice place for a gold medal in her first Olympics, and she or he is making ready for 2 extra rounds. Besides that half hasn’t been determined.

The Worldwide Golf Federation employees already has alerted gamers of a tropical storm growing that might pressure the ladies’s competitors to be lowered to 54 holes.

The forecast appeared optimistic sufficient that the plan was to begin early on Friday, with threesomes going off each tees, and to go early Saturday, too. Officers are prone to have a greater thought what to anticipate after the third spherical Friday.

“I’ll have the mindset that it will be a 72-hole golf course and no matter occurs, occurs,” Korda mentioned. “However I am not going to set my thoughts on that it is simply going to be lower than 72. As a result of proper now it’s.”

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