Jessica Korda has produced the golf round of a lifetime at the LPGA Tour’s Tournament of Champions.
Korda made nine birdies and an eagle – playing the back nine in nine-under 28 – as she shot an 11-under 60 to be right in title contention going into the final round at Four Seasons Golf and Sports Club Orlando.
Korda’s career-best round was just one shot off the LPGA record of 59 set by Annika Sorenstam nearly 20 years ago in Phoenix.
It left her two shots behind impressive leader Danielle Kang, who tied her career low with a 63 and remains bogey-free at 21-under in the season opener, which has a 24-player field of 2020 winners only.
“I didn’t process what exactly was happening until I made that (eagle) putt on 17,” said Korda, who hit 17 of 18 greens and needed just 25 putts. “Days like today don’t come often, so you really cherish them when they do. Everything has to come together to have a day like today.”
Kang tied an LPGA mark for raw score through 54 holes (shared by three others) and shattered the tournament’s 54-hole record (200).
Both Korda and Kang are seeking their sixth LPGA win.
“I think my mental game is pretty strong this week,” Kang said.
“I’m just kind of chugging along. That’s what I’m doing, is just focusing on what I need to hit, and what I need to execute. That’s pretty much it.”
Jessica Korda, 27, is the older of the LPGA’s uber-talented sisters – younger sister Nelly, 22, is No. 4 in the women’s world ranking, just ahead of Kang, and that trio will play together in the final group on Sunday.
Nelly Korda shot a 67 to be in third place, four shots behind her sister.
The Korda sisters are best friends, and they downplay that any rivalry exists, but both are highly competitive. Kang is the player to beat but finally the Kordas will play head to head with something big on the line.
With a wry smile, Jessica Korda said, “You guys finally get your wish.”
South Korea’s In Gee Chun (67) sits fourth, eight shots back.