HomeSportsAiming for sixth win of the season, Nelly Korda shoots 65 to...

Aiming for sixth win of the season, Nelly Korda shoots 65 to lead Mizuho Americas Open by two

JERSEY CITY, NJ — It didn’t take long before Nelly Korda had a new tournament within her grasp.

Korda shot a 7-under 65 on Saturday and will take a two-stroke lead over Hannah Green into the final round of the Mizuho Americas Open in an effort to win for the sixth time in her last seven events on the LPGA Tour.

“Yeah, I think I’ve always had this mentality,” Korda said of pushing the pedal every time she plays. “I always gave 100% to it. I’ve looked up to great athletes like (Rafa) Nadal and Roger Federer, and I hope I have the mix of the two. The grace that Federer has and the fight that Nadal has.

“So just having people that I’ve looked up to and seen and admired, I hope that’s something that I continue on the golf course,” the world No. 1 player added.

After watching Rose Zhang break her tour record last week and win five tournaments in the Cognizant Founders Cup, Korda has gotten better with each round, posting a three-round total of 13-under 203 at scenic Liberty National. She started with a 70 and followed that with a 68 and now the 65.

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Green, whose two wins make her the only other multiple winner on tour this year, took advantage of the calm and dry morning conditions and made a big step to post an event record 63. It was one shot better than last year’s best round, the first year of the event.

“Right now, Nelly is way out of reach to be No. 1 in the world,” Green said. “I still want to be in the top 5 in the world now that I am in the top 10. Yes, I just want to keep pushing, not get too ahead.”

Korda and Green, who are ranked 1-2 in the Rolex Player of the Year standings, will be in the final group on Sunday on the course featuring the New York City skyline, the Hudson River and the Statue of Liberty as background.

Neither player had a bogey on Saturday, but they did score 16 birdies. Korda played in the afternoon when the weather turned cooler and windier, with light rain falling during the final nine holes. She took the lead with a birdie on 15, just missed an eagle on the drivable 16th and then missed two birdie putts on the final two holes.

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She left the course shaking her head.

“The first nine days the wind was low, it was sunny and warm,” Korda said. “By the time we got to the water on the back nine, the wind picked up and it started to drizzle. It was the weather we played with on the first day, so make sure you stay warm and try it one time at a time.”

They don’t have to worry about Zhang. The defending champion had to withdraw early in the first round due to illness. A total of seven players withdrew in the first two days with various illnesses.

Rookie Gabriela Ruffels of Australia, who finished third last week, finished in third place at 10 under with Ayaka Furue of Japan, who birdied the final hole.

Jennifer Kupcho, who lost this event last year in a play-off with Zhang, was at 9 under, along with Sophia Popov of Germany and Pajaree Anannarukarn of the Philippines. Kupcho and Popov had 67s, one more than Anannarukarn.

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There was a large group of 8 under, including the first round leader, So Mi Lee, the South Korean alternate who entered the event an hour before her start time.

Third-round leader Atthaya Thitikul, who recently returned from a thumb injury, was struggling and had a 74 and was in a group at 7 under, six shots behind Korda.

Green hit 17 greens despite missing a few fairways.

“I actually hit it really close, so it was really nice not to have to stress about trying to make pars today,” said the 27-year-old. “But it still felt like autopilot there, which is very nice. So yes, now I’m hopefully putting myself in contention for Sunday.”

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