American Nelly Korda holds a one-shot lead over In Gee Chun of South Korea and Madeline Sagstrom of Sweden entering Friday’s second round of the $3.1 million ANA Inspiration at Mission Hills Country Club.
Five golfers are two shots off the lead — American Danielle Kang, Canadian Brooke M. Henderson, Yu Liu of China, Kelly Tan of Malaysia and Nanna Koerstz Madsen of Denmark.
Korda shot a 6-under-par 66, with seven birdies and a bogey on the par-4 fourth hole for her first lead following any round at a major championship. She began and ended her round with birdies.
“I would say obviously on No. 1, haven’t played for a week, first day of a major, your nerves are definitely there, so birdieing No. 1 was nice, and then I would say the bunker shot on No. 11 was really nice, too,” Korda said after posting her lowest score in her 17 rounds at the ANA Inspiration.
“I love tap-in birdies.”
The 22-year-old Korda is third on the Rolex Rankings. She is coming off her best finish in her eight starts in the 2020 LPGA Tour season, tying for third in the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship which concluded Aug. 30.
Korda is a daughter of retired Czech tennis star Petr Korda, the 1998 Australian Open men’s singles champion, and Regina Rajchrtova, who was also a professional tennis player. Both of them are at the tournament. Their older daughter Jessica Korda shot a 2-over-par 74 Thursday and is among 12 golfers tied for 65th.
“It’s really nice actually,” Nelly Korda said. “It’s nice to get some clapping occasionally. They’re definitely our biggest fans, and we wouldn’t be where we are without them, so it’s super nice.”
Chun had six birdies and a bogey on the par-3 17th.
“I really tried not to be hard on myself on the golf course,” said Chun, who is seeking her third major championship. She won the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open and 2016 Evian Championship.
“I wanted to have fun out there and work really well, and I made a great round.”
Chun has not won since the 2018 LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship. She missed five cuts in 2019.
For a year-and-a-half Chun said she “couldn’t enjoy to play golf, but I felt I had to play golf. Now I want to. I got the passion back and really enjoy to play golf.”
Sagstrom had seven birdies and bogeys on the seventh and 16th holes, both par-4s.
Temperatures during play Thursday reached the mid-90s. Friday’s high for Rancho Mirage is forecast to be 100 by the National Weather Service.
Because of the heat, there will be 1,500 disposable ice towels available on the tees; increased shade, umbrellas and tents on the course; more water and Gatorade onsite; coolers and cooler stands for water and caddies are allowed to use carts or push carts.
The field of 103 will be reduced to the low 70 plus ties following the conclusion of the second round. Golfers at risk of missing the cut include Pernilla Lindberg, the 2018 ANA Inspiration champion who shot a 4-over-par 76, and Morgan Pressel, who shot a 5-over-par 77. Pressel won the tournament in 2007 when it was known as the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
The tournament will conclude Sunday. The winner will receive $465,000.