World No.10 Nelly Korda, the joint leading points’ scorer for the United States Solheim Cup team at Gleneagles last week, took command on day two of the Lacoste Ladies Open de France at Golf du Medoc, near Bordeaux.
The 21-year-old from Bradenton, Florida, carded a morning round of seven-under-par 64 to take a six-stroke lead into the weekend on 10-under-par.
England’s Charlotte Thompson, Joanna Klatten from France and Spanish Solheim Cup star Azahara Muñoz, who all played in the hot and breezy afternoon conditions, are tied for second on four-under.
Fellow European Solheim Cup player Céline Boutier from France is seven shots from the lead, in a tie for fifth place with Nobuhle Dlamini, Jenny Haglund and Madelene Sagstrom, while the defending champion, Caroline Hedwall, is tied for 14th on level par.
Korda began her birdie run on the Chateaux course’s par-4 11th hole, rolling in a putt from around six feet. She then made three birdies in a row from the 13th. Although she carded a bogey on the short 17th, she made another short birdie putt on the 18th for a back nine total of four-under-par 31 to take a two stroke lead through the turn.
She then birdied the par-5 second – her sixth birdie in 11 holes – and finished the round by walking in an eagle putt from 10 yards, making a three on the par-5 ninth for the second successive day.
“There’s still a lot of golf to be played, but I played really well today,” she said. “I started off hot on the front nine and hit the brakes on the back nine and missed a couple of short putts. I ended with a nice eagle. I’m actually glad that putt on 18 caught the hole, as it would have gone by a couple of feet, but I guess I’m comfortable on the greens this week.”
Temperatures reached 32C in the afternoon at Le Pian de Medoc, but a swirling breeze made scoring trickier for the afternoon starters.
Thompson had a one-under-par round containing four birdies and three dropped shots. “The bogeys that I had were two three putts so that was a bit disappointing, but I managed to bounce straight back with birdies. It’s such a great course out there; it’s such a good course for me and I love it,” she said.
“It’s such a good test of golf and suits the longer hitters, because it’s long out there. I’ve hit a couple of driver, 6-irons and I’m one of the longer hitters in the game. It is tough and it demands good shots. I really like it.”
Tied for the lead overnight, Muñoz slipped back with a double bogey and two bogeys on her card, against three birdies.
“It was a so-so day. I don’t feel I played that badly. I had a lot of shots that I didn’t hit close, but it was really windy out there. I made a couple of silly mistakes: one with the driver and one where I hit it in the water, so I made a double and then a bogey to finish, that was it,” said the two-time tournament winner. “Nelly beat me by eight shots today, so she definitely had a great round and hopefully I can have some on the weekend.”
Klatten went to the turn in two-under, but found the penalty area left off the tee on the 11th and dropped a shot. She said that she enjoyed playing for a home crowd.
“It was nice because I had a crowd following. Even if it’s 20 or 30 people, it means a lot and makes you fight that extra inch,” she said.
The cut was made at six-over-par and 65 players will compete over the weekend.