BRADENTON, Florida – Nelly Korda birdied three of her final four holes to shoot a 4-under 67 and take a two-shot lead midway through the LPGA Drive On Championship in Florida.
Seeking her first LPGA Tour victory since 2022, the former world No. 1 was at 10-under 132 through 36 holes at Bradenton Country Club, a Donald Ross-designed course in her hometown that she hasn’t played all that often.
Korda got a big roar when she closed her round by hitting a 6-iron to about 6 feet for birdie on the par-3 ninth hole.
“It´s honestly such a cool feeling,” Korda said according to AP. “When we teed off, we had a really big crowd going down 1 too. I´ve definitely felt a lot of support.
“Hopefully, I can bring out more family and friends this weekend too to become louder.”
So Mi Lee had the second-best round of the day, a 65. She was two shots back. Lydia Ko, who won last week’s season opener and shared the first-round lead with Korda, was three shots behind after a 70, alongside Xiyu Lin (66) and Ayaka Furue (67).
“I did feel like I didn´t have my A-game, but still to shoot under par on a day where you don´t feel like it´s as solid is a good place to be,” Ko said.
Korda started on the back nine and bogeyed the par-4 fifth hole to fall to 1 under for the day. She followed with birdies on the par-5 sixth and eighth.
Lexi Thompson was five shots back after a 67. Maja Stark had the low round of the day, a 64 that was a 12-shot improvement over her opening-round score, to make the cut with two shots to spare at 2 under.
Florida native Lexi Thompson made birdie on her first hole of the day and then picking up another birdie on the par-4 4th hole.
She birdied again on No. 6, dropping a shot after making bogey on the par-3 9th hole to turn in 34.
The 11-time LPGA Tour winner recovered quickly, making back-to-back birdies on the 10th and 11th holes, but Thompson couldn’t keep that pace up in the closing stretch, recording seven straight pars to finish out her 4-under round and sit at 5-under overall with 36 holes to play in Bradenton, Fla.
“The overall went very well. I’ve been working really hard on my ball striking,” said Thompson.
“I’ve been tweaking a few things here and there, so, I know I might hit a few bad shots here and there, but I know I’m working on the right things, and I keep it going out there.”