Nelly Korda continuing her great rookie run
Nelly Korda – sister to multi-time LPGA Tour winner Jessica Korda – may only be 18, but she is already having a mature-type season on the LPGA Tour as a rookie.
She’s made six of six cuts so far this year, and that streak continues this week at the Volunteers of America Texas Shootout presented by JTBC, after a 3-under-par 68 has her at 4-under for the tournament, and tied for 11th – a position she shares with Jessica.
“I am very comfortable out here. Having my sister out here too helps a lot, and knowing a couple of the girls,” said Korda. “Just being comfortable out here is definitely a huge part of why I’m playing so well.”
Korda said being so close to sister Jessica has been great, for both of their games.
“So far we haven’t killed each other,” she said with a laugh. “We’re having a lot of fun. We were on different parts of the wave (this week) but I didn’t wake her up this morning, so, score!”
“We raise each other’s game,” she continued. “It’s great to have her out here and I’m really excited and looking forward to the rest of the season.”
Korda made two bogeys Friday, but it was offset by five birdies. She also made a clutch par save on the par-5 18th.
“I’m just happy I didn’t bogey it,” she said, admitting she was ‘iffy’ with the yardage. “When we got up to the green we were like, ‘oh my gosh where is it?’ Unfortunately I didn’t make that birdie putt, but I’m ready for the weekend.”
Moriya Jutanugarn makes a hole-in-one
While it was sister Ariya who stole the headlines Friday – her second-straight 4-under-par 67 has Ariya just one shot back of the lead and sitting runner-up heading into the weekend – Moriya notched an impressive accomplishment herself in the second round, making a hole-in-one on the par-3 13th with a nine iron.
“I tried to go straight at the flag, and I can hit it pretty straight so I knew it should be pretty close. It was lucky but it was also a good shot,” she said.
Moriya, who shot a 5-under-par 66 on Friday, sits tied for fourth.
“I’ve been playing pretty solid, but had a lot of good shots. I’m pretty happy with the round today,” Moriya stated.
Inbee Park feels refreshed
After a bogey-free 4-under-par 67 for Inbee Park had her tied for the lead for the early part of Friday afternoon, she pointed to her ball striking as being the key to her success.
“I have myself a lot of opportunities for birdies,” said Park. “I think there were a few out there still, but I’m happy with how I’m striking the ball, and hopefully I can make some more putts on the weekend.”
The two-time winner of this event (2013 and 2015) said she was trying to get a bit of a ‘refreshment’ on golf this season, after her injury-plagued (yet, Hall of Fame qualifying) season of a year ago.
“I was just getting a little too bored of the game and I was kind of losing a bit of concentration. I thought maybe if I refreshed myself and just treated it like it’s my first year out on tour, trying to appreciate whatever’s happening, that might just make me a lot more happier,” she said.
Park has only made one bogey in 36 holes, and said she enjoys the golf course this week in Dallas, which is part of the reason of her repeated success in the Lone Star State.
“There are a couple of tough holes, but except for that I think it’s a pretty good golf course,” explained Park. “I was putting really good on these greens when I was winning, so hopefully I can drop some more putts on the weekend.”
Park sits tied for fourth heading into the weekend.
Thompson and Wie both end up over-par
While both Michelle Wie and Lexi Thompson were in prime position to make a move Friday, they instead both went in reverse on the leaderboard, as Wie fired a 2-over-par 73 and Thompson shot a 1-over-par 72.
Wie bogeyed three of her first five holes and couldn’t get anything going after that, saying a balky putter was ultimately her demise.
“It was one of those days, you know, putts just didn’t go in and I grinded well out there. I could have been a lot worse,” she said. “I stayed patient out there. It wasn’t easy today, the greens are definitely firmer. But I’m proud of hanging in there all day. Hopefully I’ll make some more birdies on the weekend.”
Thompson, meanwhile, made three-straight birdies on the front nine, but came in with two bogeys and a double-bogey on the par-3 17th. She said it was “just not (her) day.”
“I was 3-under through six holes, just struggled a bit coming in,” she said. “I got a few bad breaks out there and just didn’t end up working out, but I’m just happy to be back in competition.”
Dori Carter fires a sizzling 8-under-par 63 and catapults up the leaderboard
Dori Carter, who hasn’t made a cut yet in the 2017 LPGA Tour season, shot the round of the day Friday, an 8-under-par 63, to move from a tie for 116th to a tie for 16th. It was a 13-shot swing from Thursday to Friday.
“That’s just golf,” said Carter. “I struck the ball well yesterday and I didn't get up and down, today I did. When I missed the green, I got up and down. And then I had some really cool long fringe putts kind of thing that putts started to fall and that just became exciting. So that was probably the difference between yesterday and today, I got up and down. I even holed out for an eagle today, things like that. I was always close and today was finally my day.”
Carter birdied her first two holes Friday, made an eagle on the par-5 3rd (by knocking in a wedge from 70 yards), then birdied her next two holes to go out in 6-under-par 30. She made three more birdies on the back nine and just a lone bogey for her 8-under total. Now that she is in the hunt, for the first time this year, she wants to go out this weekend and have fun.
“This is a fun tournament for me, I had a really good finish here a couple years ago, got a lot of friends and my parents are in town. So it's just this game has been so frustrating lately. I'm tired of it being frustrating,” Carter explained. “So I'm just going to try to find a way to finally enjoy it, enjoy playing on tour, enjoy this crazy life we live and not have to get so, you know, bogged down with the bad rounds.”