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Tuesday May 21, 2024

Im, Thitikul lead at Chevron; Korda one shot back

By Reuters
April 21, 2024
Nelly Korda of the United States plays her shot from the second tee during the first round of The Chevron Championship at The Club at Carlton Woods. — AFP/File
Nelly Korda of the United States plays her shot from the second tee during the first round of The Chevron Championship at The Club at Carlton Woods. — AFP/File

HOUSTON: Jin Hee Im and Atthaya Thitikul carded matching rounds of 5-under-par 67 on Friday to share the lead after two rounds of the Chevron Championship, the first women’s major of the year at The Woodlands, Texas.

South Korea’s Im, who had a bogey-free round, and Thailand’s Thitikul, who recorded six birdies and one bogey, are tied at 8-under 136 after 36 holes at The Club at Carlton Woods.

Alone in third and one stroke back after a 69 on Friday is world No. 1 Nelly Korda, who is attempting to win her fifth straight start on the LPGA Tour. She didn’t look like the top golfer with a double bogey to start her day at the par-4 first hole, but she recovered quickly with birdies at two of the next three holes.

“Yeah, started out with a double. That was fun,” Korda quipped. “I hit two shots out of the left fairway bunker. Just kind of didn’t catch it super clean and it didn’t actually hit the bunker lining, just the grass, and bumped back in.

“Then I bounced back with a birdie and made a birdie on the following par-5.”

A bogey at the par-3 seventh hole set her back to 3 under for the tournament, but again she rebounded with two birdies, consecutively this time at Nos. 8-9. The back nine was less adventurous with birdies at Nos. 13 and 18 and seven pars.

“Yeah, kind of all over the place on the front nine, but pretty clean scorecard on the back with two birdies,” Korda said.

Korda said she isn’t thinking ahead to the possibility of winning a fifth event.

“I’m just at the halfway point right now,” Korda said. “The amount of golf that I’ve played, I still have that to go. There is still a lot of golf left and anything can happen.

“Just going to stick to my process and vibe with it is what my coach says,” she added with a smile.

South Korea’s Hae Ran Ryu has fourth place to herself after a 66, leaving her at 6 under for the tournament. Another South Korean, Shinsil Bang (65), is in a five-way tie at 5 under.