American fires record round to take control of top Thai tournament
Chonburi - Red-hot Jessica Korda of the United States fired a course record 62 to surge into a four-shot lead at the halfway stage of the $1.6 million LPGA Thailand at the Siam Country Club Pattaya Old Course on Friday.
The American world No 26 sprinkled her round with eight birdies, four straight from holes 13-16 and a finishing eagle for the lowest round in the 12 years of the tournament.
Her total of 16 under-par-128 earned her a handy lead over compatriot Brittany Lincicome and in sight of her fifth LPGA title.
The daughter of former Australian Open champion Petr Korda of Czech Republic is in her first tournament since last November after undergoing jaw injury.
“I had a double jaw surgery and also had a broken nose. I had a couple bruises on my face. I had a crooked smile. I looked weird,” said Korda, who feels lucky to be back on the golf course without no more pain.
“I had no pain, [I was] just numb . The best part is I have had no headaches for 11 weeks. So that’s the biggest win for me.
“Honestly I was just trying to get on the green, get myself a chance. I birdied four in a row and holed a long one [the eagle at the last]. I wasn’t expecting it at all. It was pretty cool,” added Korda who carded her first 10-under round in 10 years.
Playing alongside her in the same squad was two-time Major champion Lincicome, who carded six birdies and an eagle on the 11th hole against a bogey for a 65 to settle for 12-under-par-132.
“We're just having a good time out there. It's fun to see all the circles on the scorecard. I made an eagle today, which is really fun,” aid the world No 35, who was followed by South Korean Minjee Lee (67) on 133 and 2016 champion Lexi Thompson of the US (68) on 134.
Seven shots off the lead was local hope Moriya Jutanugarn, who shot a 69 for a combined nine under-par-135 for tied fifth along with Canadian Brooke M.Henderson and American Michelle Wie after their round of 67 and 68 respectively.
“I was playing well but just didn’t make my putts despite having several opportunities. Maybe it wasn’t my day,” said the 21st-ranked Moriya, who still insisted her only goal this week was to have fun.
“I didn’t feel happy like I did on the first day. So my plan is to go out there and enjoy myself,” the Thai No 2 added.
Her younger sister and Thai No 1 Ariya Jutanugarn struggled with her tee shots, firing a 69 for a two-round total of seven under-par-137 to share 10th place with world No 1 Shanshan Feng of China, Azahara Munuz of Spain and Nicole Broch Larsen of Denmark.
“My tee shots let me down. I missed a lot of fairways. I wasn’t committed to my game plan and thought too much ahead. I really need to work on my swing and find out what’s wrong today technically,” said the seven-time LPGA winner Ariya, whose best result here was a runner-up in 2013.
Park Sung Hyun