DALY CITY, Calif. (AP) – Jessica Korda is trying to leave everyone else behind – and not get too far ahead of herself in the LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship.
Korda shot a 5-under 67 on Friday afternoon in warmer-but-still-chilly conditions at Lake Merced to take a one-stroke into the weekend.
“It’s only Friday, still two more days to go,” Korda said. “Play the same way I have been the last two days. Hopefully, some putts drop. Stay patient and stick with my process.”
The winner in Thailand in February in her return from reconstructive jaw surgery, the long-hitting Korda had six birdies – three on the first four holes – and a bogey to reach 9 under.
“Just staying calm,” the five-time LPGA Tour winner said. “I knew I was going to get certain bounces that weren’t going to be super favorable as the greens got firmer during the afternoon. Just stayed patient and stayed with my process and here we are.”
Monday qualifier Annie Park was second after a 66 in the morning. The 2013 NCAA champion at Southern California has fought back problems.
“I battled some injuries last year and coming back was tough,” Park said. “I like I am where I am right now, so it feels good. … I learned a lot from it. I didn’t know how much I missed the sport. I love the sport. I was very excited to come back, and so it was actually a huge turning point for me, a different perspective toward life and golf.”
England’s Charley Hull was 7 under after a 68.
Lydia Ko had a 70 to get to 6 under. She won the Swinging Skirts LPGA at Lake Merced in 2014 and 2015.
“I think just put myself in good positions,” Ko said. “This is a course where you need to drive it well and putt well. Hopefully, I’ll continue doing that and just stay patient and stay confident.”
Moriya Jutanugarn, the winner Sunday in Los Angeles for her first LPGA Tour title, shot 68 to join Sei Young Kim (70) at 5 under.
Minjee Lee, the 2012 U.S. Girls’ Junior champion at Lake Merced, shot a 70 to match So Yeon Ryu (70), Nasa Hataoka (69) and Su Oh (72) at 4 under.
“It’s a second-shot golf course. Obviously, you need good drives as well, but I think your shots into the greens are really important,” Lee said. “I think I’ve been judging the wind OK, but I could probably improve on that, and pretty much just taking advantage of the short putts that I have when I can.”
Nelly Korda, Jessica’s sister, was 2 under after a 70.
Top-ranked Inbee Park had a 71 to get to 1 under.
“The golf course is perfect,” Park said. “I just wasn’t able to hole some putts. This is a tough golf course and it can get really tough when the wind picks up. I just have to make some more putts.”
No. 2 Shanshan Feng also was 1 under after a 71, and third-ranked Lexi Thompson had a 75 to drop to even par. Michelle Wie made the cut on the number, shooting 74-72.
Stacy Lewis shot 74-74 to miss the cut in her first event since revealing that she’s expecting her first child in November. The 12-time tour winner plans to play through the Marathon Classic in July and return for a full season next year.