Rolex Rankings No. 1 Nelly Korda maintained her one-stroke lead at the 2022 Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions, shooting a 3-under 69 on Saturday at Lake Nona Golf and Country Club to reach -13 overall. Danielle Kang and Gaby Lopez, who entered Saturday tied for second, also returned matching rounds of 69 to sit at -12, one stroke behind Korda.
Nelly survived a round that saw periodic rain and blustery wind pelting the course off Lake Nona, with temperatures topping out in the mid-50s. Wearing a light parka most of the day, Korda carded four birdies and one bogey for her 11th consecutive round in the 60s, dating back to the 2021 season.
“I think I played pretty solid. You know, I could have made some more putts, but in all, I'm really happy with how my round went,” said Korda. “The conditions were tough. It was cold, rainy, and got a little windy, so in all, I'm very happy with 3-under.”
Kang overcame her hatred of cold weather to play bogey-free on Saturday, carding birdies on holes 5, 13 and 14. “I made a couple swings out there where I just froze up. My body doesn't react that well in the cold,” she said. “I still saw a little bit of gimmicks here and there, but I'm proud of how far I have come to be able to swing and perform and be consistent instead of just succumb to the weather.”
Lopez won the 2020 Tournament of Champions and is well-positioned to add a second title to her resume. Like Kang, she played bogey-free, with birdies at 9, 14 and 18. That final birdie put an exclamation point on another tremendous round of golf on the difficult Lake Nona layout.
“My caddie said right away, ‘That was a hell of a shot.’ I had 162 to the pin, into the wind; it was cold. We had 5-iron to 12 feet,” she said. “Just followed my instinct and that putt dropped in the perfect moment to close a perfect round.”
Brooke Henderson holds solo fourth at -11, with Yuka Saso rounding out the top five at -10. Defending Tournament of Champions winner Jessica Korda is tied for seventh at -8.
In the celebrity competition, 72-time LPGA Tour winner and Lake Nona resident Annika Sorenstam reclaimed the lead at +104, a two-stroke advantage over World Series champion Derek Lowe. Defending celebrity champion Mardy Fish is third at +100. The celebrity competition is played using a modified Stableford scoring system.
“I am super excited that I'm leading by two,” said Sorenstam, who lives on the 16th hole at Lake Nona. “I wasn't really paying too much attention. I know I was kind of going head-to-head there with Derek a little bit, but I didn't know what the guys in front were doing. I would certainly have taken that at the beginning of the week. Today was tough, cold, windy, rainy. It's one of those days that normally I wouldn't be outside, but because of the tournament you get a little extra fired up and you go out there and try to hit one shot at a time.”