LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Danielle Kang performed nice, tying her profession low with an 8-under 63 and defending her lead Saturday within the Diamond Resorts Match of Champions.
Jessica Korda owned the day.
A scorching 28 on the again 9 — 9-under par — at 4 Seasons Golf and Sports activities Membership Orlando lifted Korda to an 11-under 60, only one shot off the LPGA Tour scoring mark.
Kang was at 21-under 192 via three bogey-free rounds. Her whole tied an LPGA mark for uncooked rating via 54 holes (shared by three others) and shattered the event’s 54-hole file (200). She’s going to take a two-shot lead over Korda into Sunday in what units up as a terrific shootout for the LPGA’s season opener:
Kang leads Jessica Korda by two and Nelly Korda (67) by six. South Korea’s In Gee Chun (67) sits fourth, eight photographs again.
Jessica Korda, 27, is the older of the LPGA’s uber-talented sisters — youthful sister Nelly, 22, is No. Four within the girls’s world rating, simply forward of Kang. She adopted a ho-hum begin with birdies on six of her first seven holes on the second 9. She then completed with an enormous kick, making an eagle on the 537-yard 17th gap, which she reached in two with a 4-iron, pouring in an 18-foot, right-to-left putt.
Korda added a ninth birdie on the difficult, water-guarded par-3 18th, the place she struck a delicate 6-iron to 9 toes.
The slick downhill putt tumbled in on its final flip, giving Korda the tour’s first 60 since Paula Creamer within the 2008 Jamie Farr Owens Corning Traditional. Korda turned the fifth LPGA participant to ever shoot that quantity.
The back-nine birdies and eagles had been arriving at such a tempo that neither Korda nor these taking part in alongside may sustain with the dizzying math. The 2 celebrities in her group — NFL receiver Larry Fitzgerald and Fox tv anchor Brett Baier — knew one thing particular was occurring and simply tried to remain out of her approach.
Korda’s spherical was only one shot off the file of 59 by Annika Sorenstam practically 20 years in the past in Phoenix. Sorenstam is at Diamond Resorts this week competing within the 53-player movie star division.
“I did not course of what precisely was occurring till I made that putt on 17,” Korda stated. “I used to be like, ‘Oh, OK. That is good.’ … Days like at this time do not come typically, so you actually cherish them after they do. Every little thing has to come back collectively to have a day like at this time.”
Fitzgerald, who stated he watches the LPGA greater than he does the PGA Tour, stated of Korda, “It was mastery at its most interesting. She had full command of her ball at this time.”
On a day conducive to low scoring — overcast, mild wind, and late-morning rain that softened greens — Kang, a five-time LPGA champion, made eight birdies towards no bogeys and tied her profession low. Her streak with out a bogey was stretched to 70 holes, relationship to the ultimate spherical of the CME Group Tour Championship in December.
The eight birdies had been good, however Kang took specific satisfaction in a hard-fought par on the 17th that saved her card clear. She chunked her 5-wood second shot right into a pond fronting the inexperienced, took a penalty drop, hit wedge to 11 toes and made the par-saving putt. When it fell, she gave a belt-high, intense fist pump. She then birdied the final gap from Four toes to push her result in two photographs.
“General, I feel my sport is fairly stable,” Kang stated. “I feel my psychological sport is fairly robust this week. Simply form of chugging alongside. That is what I am doing, is simply specializing in what I must hit, and what I must execute. That is just about it.”
LPGA gamers within the winners-only subject have been grouped with movie star gamers in every of the primary three rounds, however on Sunday, Kang will probably be joined with the Korda sisters within the remaining threesome.
Jessica and Nelly are finest associates, they usually downplay that any rivalry exists, however each are extremely aggressive. Kang is the participant to beat, positive, however lastly, the Kordas will play with one thing huge on the road.
With a wry smile, Jessica Korda stated, “You guys lastly get your want.”
Amongst celebrities, who’re utilizing a Modified Stableford format, former tennis participant Mardy Fish (117 factors) leads by six over former NFL kicker Josh Scobee.