Dottie Ardina turned in a second-straight two-under-par 70 but the Fil-American found herself seven strokes off new leader Nelly Korda halfway through the Women’s PGA Championship Friday at Atlanta Athletic Club in Georgia, USA. Korda, the 22-year-old daughter of retired Czech tennis star Petr Korda, stood on 11-under 133 after she sizzled with a 9-under-par 69 for a one shot lead over fellow American Lizette Salas.
Salas fired a second straight 67 to stand on 134 with France’s Celine Boutier, Canada’s Alena Sharp and American Cydney Clanton sharing a distant third on 137.
Ardina, who mixed her rounds with birdies on 6th, 10th, 17th and 18th and bogeys on 3rd and 7th, had a two-day aggregate of 140. She was tied by Americans Mina Harigae, Ryann O’Toole, Austin Ernst and Danielle Kang, Italian Giulia Molinaro, Chinese Xiyu Lin, Thai Wichanee Meechai of Thailand, and South Korean Hyo Joo Kim.
Newly-crowned US Women’s Open champion Yuka Saso also turned in a 70 but she now trailed Korda by 10 shots with her 143 total.
Bianca Pagdanganan missed the cut after by after firing a 74 for a 150 total.
“I guess I just blacked out out there,” Korda said of her run, which she said was helped by having spectators for the event.
“It helps to have a crowd here,” she said. “I feel like when the crowd is here, they get behind you, they kind of give you a lot of energy, as well.”
Korda, who began on the 10th hole with her lone bogey of the day, followed with a birdie at 11 and two more at the 14th and par-3 17th, then made another at the par-5 second before her amazing closing run.
Korda sank a 20-foot birdie putt at the par-3 fourth, lipped out for eagle at the fifth, tapped in for birdie at six and sank a five-foot downhill putt at the par-3 seventh. After a long birdie putt on eight, she pitched eight feet past the cup and curled in a downhill birdie putt.