Korda continuing great play in Asia
Rookie Nelly Korda has played with older sister Jessica for the first two days of the Blue Bay LPGA, and Thursday she nipped her by two, shooting a 2-under-par 70 to move to 3-under for the tournament and into a tie for fifth.
Korda, who finished tied for fifth two weeks ago at the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, is looking for her fourth top-10 result of the season and is in good position to do just that through two rounds.
On a blustery Thursday, Korda was bogey free, and described her round as a ‘scrambling’ one.
“I had 24 putts and I started out with six 1-putts in a row, so I was making a lot of up-and-downs today,” she said. “I was missing in the right areas, so the chip shots weren't as tough. But other than that, I'm really happy with how I ended up today.”
Korda said the two sisters chatted about ‘legitimately everything’ during their round Thursday – other than golf – were very comfortable together on what was a trying day weather-wise.
“It’s windy and the pin positions are tucked in really hard positions. So it's definitely about positioning yourself, and if you miss, then miss in the right areas,” she explained. “That barely happens, but today it was happening a lot, so was pretty lucky.”
With just one event left in the season, Korda said her year has gone ‘pretty good,’ and she’s feeling comfortable playing with the best golfers in the world.
“Obviously would have liked to have a couple better finishes, but (I’m) fairly pleased with my season,” she said.
Feng relishing playing in China
Last week’s winner Shanshan Feng had a handful of fans cheering her on in Japan, making her feel comfortable.
But this week in her native China, the crowd support is on another level. And through two rounds, Feng – who sits just one shot back of the lead at the Blue Bay LPGA – is indeed giving them something to cheer about.
Feng said the Jian Lake Blue Bay Golf Club is close to her hometown and her mother has already come to watch.
She admitted in the past the extra pressure, when she started as a professional, would have impacted her play, but now – and with eight LPGA Tour titles under her belt – she relishes the opportunity to play in front of family and friends.
“When my parents are around, it's so much better,” she said. “For example, when I was in Japan, my mother was there and it was just great to have her there and have photos together and it was more meaningful.”
Feng shot the round of the day Thursday, a 5-under-par 67.
Buhai with the Shot of the Day
On the par-4 12th, the pin was tucked at the back over a big sweeping ridge, making it difficult to judge on approach.
Not for Ashleigh Buhai, however, who chipped in from about 30 yards for a birdie, and certainly the shot of the day.
Buhai, who leads by one going into Friday’s third round, said she felt as though she had ‘no chance’ going after the pin with her approach shot, with the hole being downhill and down wind. But she hit a lob wedge ‘perfectly’ into the hill and it eventually trickled into the cup
She celebrated by putting her arms up and high-fiving her caddie.
“I thought I was happy enough to have it stiff, and next minute, I looked, it dropped in,” she said. “It was cool.”
Lee still grinding to go back-to-back
It was an up-and-down Thursday for Minjee Lee as she is through two rounds of her title defense at the Blue Bay LPGA, but with high winds wrecking havoc on scores, she’s still not out of it.
Lee fired a 1-over-par 73 Thursday, featuring six bogeys and five birdies.
She admitted she put herself in some ‘tricky’ positions in both rounds one and two and is hopeful to tighten up her approaches moving into the final two rounds and try to make up some ground on the leader, Ashleigh Buhai.
Lee said the greens are a little quicker than a year ago, when she won for the second time on the LPGA Tour, but the wind – although strong – isn’t as strong as 2016.
She’s got a game plan for the final two rounds, she explained, and hopefully she’ll be able to stir up some magic from this time last year.
“I’m just going to try to be a little more steady,” she said. “Just try to focus on my targets.”
Yoo struggles in second round
Overnight leader after the first round Sun Young Yoo started her day with a bang, making birdie on the par-4 1st. However, a double bogey that came four holes later eventually derailed her attempt at climbing the leaderboard any further and she finished with a 2-over-par 74.
Yoo admitted it was ‘a long day’ as she felt she didn’t hit the ball very well, certainly as compared to the first round.
“Still, hit a lot of good shots and made a lot of putts. It wasn't easy. It was so windy today. I'll take it,” she said. “I think I'm still in a good position for the next two days and looking forward to it.”