Team USA’s Nelly Korda, already a major champion and world No 1 in 2021, bolstered her chances of winning Olympic gold by firing nine birdies and an eagle on her way to a second-round 62 in Japan; Storms threaten to reduce the tournament to 54 holes
By Ali Stafford
Last Updated: 05/08/21 10:08am
Nelly Korda is chasing gold for Team USA in Japan
Nelly Korda stormed into a four-shot lead in the Women’s Olympic Golf competition, despite narrowly falling short in her bid for golfing history.
The world No 1 pulled clear of the chasing pack with a stunning second-round 62 on another swelteringly hot day at Kasumigaseki Country Club, firing nine birdies and an eagle on her way to equalling the lowest round of her career.Five birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back left her requiring a final-hole birdie to shoot a historic ’59 round’, only for the American to card a final-hole double-bogey to drop back to 13 under for the tournament. “I wasn’t thinking about it (59) at all,” Korda said after her round, which equalled the lowest 18-hole total ever recorded by a female golfer at the Olympics. “I was like, ‘Oh, cool, I have a pretty good lead going into 18’ but unfortunately then that double on 18.”But that’s golf and that’s just how it goes sometimes. Honestly, if I have to think about it, that was the only fairway I missed today. I’ve had a lot of good rounds this year, I’ve been playing really well.” Korda is already a three-time winner on the PGA Tour this season Korda opened with four straight pars before following a birdie at the fifth with a 25-foot eagle at the driveable par-four sixth, with further birdies on the next three holes seeing her reach the turn in 30.A long-range putt at the 12th sparked another run of three straight birdies and back-to-back gains from the 16th took her to 11 under for the round, only for her to be forced to pitch out from the rough after a wayward tee shot at the last. Korda will play in the final group alongside Aditi Ashok and Nanna Koerstz Madsen on Friday Danish duo Nanna Koerstz Madsen and Emily Kristine Pedersen are in a three-way tie for second alongside India’s Aditi Ashok, while overnight leader Madelene Sagstrom is a further shot back in fifth after a second-round 68. Irish pair Stephanie Meadow and Leona Maguire are nine off the pace in tied-11th following rounds of 66 and 67 respectively, while Team GB’s Jodi Ewart Shadoff moved to a share of 34th thanks to a three-under 68.Due to high forecasted temperatures, the third round will begin earlier on Friday and be played from a two-tee start. The final round is planned for Saturday, despite a tropical storm approaching the area, although the Sunday can be used if necessary and reducing the tournament to 54 holes is also being considered.