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Nelly Korda leads at halfway in pursuit of maiden major title

September 12, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Nelly Korda is closing on her first major golf title as a five-under 67 saw the young American take a two-shot halfway lead at the ANA Inspiration in California.

(CNN)Nelly Korda is closing on her first major golf title as a five-under 67 saw the young American take a two-shot halfway lead at the ANA Inspiration in California.

The 22-year-old, the daughter of Czech tennis legend Petr Korda, the 1998 Australian Open champion, has shown remarkable consistency for the 36 holes at the sun-baked Mission Hills Country Club to reach 11-under 133.

Korda relied on steady play from tee to green and a "hot" putter, making crucial par saves from 20 feet at the par-5 second and 25 feet at the par-4 third.

Five birdies from Korda kept Lee, who birdied three of the final five holes, at bay while another South Korean, Chun In-gee, fell back after a one-under 71 to be five back alongside Kelly Tan of Malaysia.

American Danielle Kang, who can top the world rankings with victory at Mission Hills, has ground to make up after a 71 left her six shots off the lead.

Her compatriot Thompson is better placed, with her power game suited to the course as three birdies in four holes at the start of the round left her firmly in the mix ahead of the weekend.

Most notable is world number one and defending ANA champion Jin Young Ko, who decided not to travel from South Korea to play because of Covid-19 concerns.

Also missing is this year's first major winner, Sophia Popov, who stunned the golfing world by claiming the British Women's Open last month as a rank outsider.

World number three Korda, whose sister Jessica is also a leading player on the LPGA Tour, will be hoping to continue her fine form to take the next step as a major winner, with her previous best third in the 2019 Women's PGA Championship.

Averaging just 1. 5 putts per hole in the tournament, her touch on the lightning fast Mission Hills greens could prove crucial.

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