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Nelly Korda keeps pedal to metal at LPGA Drive On

Nelly Korda shares 1st-round lead at 2021 LPGA Drive On Championship
Nelly Korda finds herself at the top of another leaderboard, just days after winning on the LPGA.

After winning last week’s Gainbridge LPGA, Korda grabs 1st-round lead at Golden Ocala as sister, Jessica, joins chase for Team Korda

The Korda Show continues on the LPGA.

Four days after winning the Gainbridge LPGA in Orlando for her third career victory, Nelly Korda shot a bogey-free 5-under 67 for a share of the first-round lead Thursday at the LPGA Drive On Championship at Golden Ocala (scores).

Korda will enter today’s second round tied with fellow Americans Jennifer Kupcho and Austin Ernst.

Korda took Monday off to do laundry, then drove 90 minutes north from Orlando to Ocala on Tuesday, when she began the tournament week by focusing on her swing and ball-striking.

So far, so good.

“The people that win back-to-back events, like, props to them, because it’s exhausting mentally,” she said.

Korda, 22, was paired with her older sister, Jessica, who shot 69 to share sixth place. Jessica won the season-opening Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions. “Jess and I played really solid,” Nelly said. The other member of their group, world No. 1 Jin Young Ko, struggled to a 75.

Kupcho, like Nelly Korda, made five birdies against no bogeys, but Ernst added more drama to her round. After making bogeys on two of her first four holes, Ernst played her final 14 holes in 7 under, including a run of five birdies on her final seven holes.

“I hit it a little better coming in,” said Ernst, 29, a two-time winner on the LPGA and the 2011 NCAA champion at LSU. “Overall, it was really good. I made a lot of birdies coming in.”

Kupcho, 23, also a former NCAA champion, in 2018 at Wake Forest, fought through a back-nine migraine to maintain her bogey-free round.

“Even right now, it’s really blurry,” she said in her post-round interview. “I’ve had three [migraines] during the offseason. Usually, the blurriness goes away in 45 minutes. I was standing over a shot, and that’s when it kicked in. I never really know,” she said, adding that she was headed for a dark room to help ease the pain.

American Jaye Marie Green was tied for fourth with China’s Jin Yang at 68. The elder Korda was among a group of 10 that included New Zealand’s Lydia Ko who shared sixth place at 69.

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