Jessica Korda had her game together again Thursday, shooting a bogey-free 65 one day after firing a 64 to hold the lead after two rounds of the Hugel-Air Premia LA Open in Los Angeles.
Korda, with a 13-under 129 score at the tournament's halfway point, set a new 36-hole scoring record at the event held at Wilshire Country Club.
Despite her stellar start, the 28-year-old from Bradenton, Fla., carries a mere three-stroke lead with two of the top three ranked players in the world close behind -- a pair of South Koreans, world No. 1 Jin Young Ko (10 under after a 65 on Thursday) and No. 3 Sei Young Kim (9 under after shooting a 66).
Canada's Brooke Henderson (65) and American Angela Stanford (66) are tied for fourth at 8-under. South Korea's So Yeon Ryu (67), Australian Hannah Green (67) and Tiffany Chan (70) of Hong Kong are in a three-way tie for sixth at 7 under, with four players tied for ninth at 6 under -- Ally Ewing (69), Austin Ernst (70), Dana Finkelstein (70) and South Korea's Inbee Park (68).
Starting on the back nine, Korda sunk birdies on four of her first seven holes to take charge on a day that highlighted her consistency this season, as it marked her 19th round out of 22 that she has finished a round at even par or better.
"Well, it's going to sound crazy but I actually lipped out a good amount out there today, so it actually could have been lower," said Korda, who is seeking her seventh LPGA win. "Both are fine. I don't complain.
"I know I made a bogey yesterday, but I made up for it with some birdies. Just had a little bit of a harder time with some speed today. Other than that, it's just another good day."
Ko, who has been the world's top-ranked player since July 20, 2019, kept the heat on Korda with seven birdies -- one more than the leader. But a bogey on the par-4 17th hole prevented Ko from drawing closer.
Seeking her fifth top-10 finish in five LPGA events this season, she admitted to some fatigue after her round.
"My mind is like out, everything is like out," said Ko, speaking of her long day on the course. "I want to have hot water and take a rest. I had a great round today and there was lots of wind, so I had a lot of tough shots. I'm happy to be in my position."
Reigning LA Open champion Minjee Lee of New Zealand, who captured the title in 2019 before the event was canceled last year due to the pandemic, is tied for 62nd at 1 over after a second-round 73.
The LA Open has a Wednesday-to-Saturday competition schedule.
--Field Level Media