Of all the Korda family wins in tennis and golf, only Petr Korda’s 1998 Australian Open tennis victory is a major championship title. Oldest daughter Jessica Korda has put herself in prime position to join dad as a major champion, sitting atop the leaderboard going into the weekend of the 2019 U.S. Women’s Open.
“That's what you play for,” said Korda of becoming a major champion. “At the same time, I feel a lot of luck is always a big part of winning a Major Championship, making the most putts and the least amount of mistakes. It's really hard to win out here, obviously. I think everybody can see that, watching us week in week out. Solid golf will always put me up top. If I have a chance, I'll try to take it.”
While Korda has yet to earn a major win, she has seen success across her major appearances. She has top-10 finishes at all five majors, with her best showings coming in ties for fourth at the 2018 ANA Inspiration and 2018 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.
GINA KIM CATCHING ATTENTION IN CHARLESTON
What a few weeks it’s been for 19-year-old amateur Gina Kim. In early April, Kim competed in the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur. In early May, she finished sixth at the NCAA Auburn Regional as a freshman on the Duke University women’s golf team. Just last week, Kim finished 10th in the individual portion of the NCAA National Championship and helped lead the Blue Devils to the seventh national title in program history.
And now, playing in her second U.S. Women’s Open, Kim finds herself just two strokes off the lead for yet another national championship, this time the U.S. Women’s Open. Kim’s 138 is tied for the second-lowest 36-hole score by an amateur in championship history, just behind Grace Park’s 137 in 1999.
“I try not to have any expectations for myself, and I think that really helps in terms of me just trying to have fun but also knowing that I have to compete out here as well,” said Kim, whose first-round 66 is the lowest round ever by an amateur at the U.S. Women’s Open. “I just think kind of being confident in what I'm doing and constantly just keeping the same routine and committing to it and just enjoy the experience while walking, I think that's really helped me a lot so far.”
With 36 holes to go, Kim has put herself firmly in the discussion for Sunday’s winner. In 1967, France’s Catherine Lacoste, the daughter of tennis great Rene Lacoste, became the only amateur winner of the U.S. Women’s Open. Nine amateurs have finished second, including current LPGA stars Morgan Pressel and Brittany Lang, who tied for runner-up in 2005. Only one other amateur won a major championship – Pat O’Sullivan at the 1951 Titleholders, which was a major in 1937-42, 1946-66 and 1972.
Five amateurs have won six LPGA Tour events: Polly Riley (1950 Tampa Open), O’Sullivan, Lacoste, JoAnne Carner (1969 Burdine’s Invitational) and Lydia Ko (2012 and 2013 CN Canadian Women’s Open).
NO. 11 CONTINUES TO CHALLENGE USWO FIELD
The 11th hole at the Country Club of Charleston continues to stymie this week’s U.S. Women’s Open competitors. With 45 players yet to finish the second round due to the weather delay, the famed reverse Redan hole has yielded just 19 birdies to go along with 111 bogeys, 21 double bogeys and five of the dreaded “other.”
The hole is shaping up to be one of the most difficult par-3s in U.S. Women’s Open history. With 45 players yet to finish the second round, it has a scoring average of 3.4776, nearly half a stroke over par. In 2012, the 13th hole at Blackwolf Run played to 3.47, while No. 5 at Pine Needles Lodge and Country Club in 1996 played to 3.44.
Rolex Rankings No. 49 Mamiko Higa (65-71)
- She hit nine of 14 fairways and 11 of 18 greens, with 29 putts
- Higa is playing in her first U.S. Women’s Open
- This is Higa’s 12th LPGA start; she has top-10 finishes at the 2013 AIG Women’s British Open (T7), the 2013 Mizuno Classic (T3), the 2017 TOTO Japan Classic (T5) and the 2018 AIG Women’s British Open (T4)
- Higa is a full-time member of the JLPGA; she has five victories on that tour, including the 2019 Daikin Orchid Ladies Golf Tournament
- Higa is trying to become the second Japanese player to win a women’s major championship, joining Chako Higuchi, who won the 1977 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship
Rolex Rankings No. 13 Jessica Korda (69-68)
- Korda’s second-round 68 is her best round at the U.S. Women’s Open; she previously shot 69 four times, including in Thursday’s first round
- Her 137 is her best 36-hole score at the U.S. Women’s Open; her previous best was a 140 in 2016
- She hit 14 of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens, with 32 putts
- Korda is in her ninth season on the LPGA Tour; she has five career victories, most recently at the 2018 Honda LPGA Thailand
- This is Korda’s sixth event of the 2019 LPGA Tour season; her best finish is a tie for second at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup
- She is competing in her 12th U.S. Women’s Open; her best finish is a tie for seventh in 2013
World Amateur Golf Rankings No. 50 Gina Kim (66-72)
- Kim’s 138 is tied for the second-lowest 36-hole score by an amateur in championship history, just behind Grace Park’s 137 in 1999; Hye-Jin Choi also shot 138 in 2017
- She hit 12 of 14 fairways and 17 of 18 greens, with 36 putts
- Kim is playing in her second U.S. Women’s Open; she missed the cut in 2018
- Kim is a rising sophomore at Duke University; she is part of the Duke women’s golf team that last week won the NCAA National Championship title
- She was a semifinalist at the 2018 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship and competed in the 2019 Augusta National Women’s Amateur