American Nelly Korda flirts with 59 to construct 4-shot lead at Tokyo Olympics

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

Still 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 least till she reached the ultimate gap at Kasumigaseki Country Club.

Her tee shot bounded by means of the sun-baked fairway into the tough, with a thick limb from a pine tree blocking her path to the flag. Instead of taking a danger, 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 document set by Maria Verchenova of Russia final time within the remaining spherical at Olympic Golf Course in Rio de Janeiro.

Korda, who gained the Women’s PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club six weeks in the past, was considering extra concerning the dimension of her lead than having an opportunity to develop into solely the second lady to shoot 59.

“I wasn’t thinking about it at all,” she mentioned of a birdie for 59. “I was like, ‘Oh, cool, I have a pretty good lead going into 18.’ Unfortunate that double on 18, but that’s golf and that’s just how it goes sometimes.”

Everything else went simply effective. 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 beneath by means of eight holes to set the early tempo on one other blistering day by which gamers usually walked exterior the ropes within the shade of timber. Her putter cooled on the again 9 and he or she 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 means of the opening 36 holes.

Pederson had eight birdies and an eagle in her spherical of 63 to hitch 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 apart from attempting to maintain from overheating. The main stored rising, particularly within the remaining 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 he or she is making ready for 2 extra rounds. Except that half hasn’t been determined.

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

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

“I’m going to have the mindset that it’s going to be a 72-hole golf course and whatever happens, happens,” Korda mentioned. “But I’m not going to set my mind on that it’s just going to be less than 72. Because right now it is.”

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