News & Opinion

Jessica Korda takes aim at 2nd victory of LPGA season

Nelly Korda at 2021 LPGA Drive on Championship
Jessica Korda shoots 7-under 64 on Wednesday for the 1st-round lead at the Hugel-Air Premia L.A. Open as she seeks her 2nd victory of the LPGA season.

Older half of Korda sisters shoots 7-under 64 to lead Hugel-Air Premia L.A. Open as lil’ sis Nelly stays close with 66

Since winning the LPGA’s season-opening tournament, Jessica Korda has been largely unnoticed on the women’s tour. Unless, of course, she is being mentioned in the same breath as her kid sister, Nelly, a pretty fair stick in her own right.

The Kordas won the first two tournaments of the season: Jessica, at the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions, and Nelly, at the Gainbridge LPGA, both in their native Florida.

Jessica Korda looked like a winner again in Wednesday’s first round of the Hugel-Air Premia L.A. Open, shooting 7-under 64 at Wilshire Country Club in Los Angeles to open a one-stroke lead. Korda hit 12 of 14 fairways and 17 of 18 greens in regulation, offsetting one bogey with eight birdies, including on her first two and last two holes. (For first-round scores, click here.)

In her previous four outings since that opening victory, Korda has finished better than 30th only once, a T-8 at the LPGA Drive On Championship in early March. Korda, 28, is a six-time winner on the LPGA.

Thailand’s Moriya Jutanugarn, who won the inaugural L.A. Open in 2018 for her lone LPGA title, displayed a stunning reversal in fortune after a sloppy start. Jutanugarn made a double bogey on her second hole of the day, the par-4 11th, and stood 4 over through five holes. She ran off six consecutive birdies and played her final 13 holes in 10 under, including a 6-under 29 on her second nine, to shoot 6-under 65. She was tied for second with China’s Tiffany Chan.

Nelly Korda withstood three bogeys to shoot 5-under 66 and share fourth place with fellow Americans Austin Ernst and Dana Finkelstein and Spain’s Carlota Ciganda and Australia’s Su Oh.

South Korea’s Jin Young Ko, who is No. 1 in the Rolex Rankings, birdied her last two holes and joined a group of seven other players that included compatriot Sei Young Kim, who is No. 3 in the world, in a tie for ninth at 67.

Minjee Lee, the 2019 L.A. champion and thus the defending champion because the 2020 event was canceled because of COVID-19, shot 1-under 70. She was tied with Americans Lexi Thompson and Michelle Wie West, among others.

The L.A. Open is the last of seven U.S.-based tournaments to start the LPGA’s 2021 schedule before the tour heads to Asia for two events and then returns to America.

Sign up to receive the Morning Read newsletter, along with Where To Golf Next and The Equipment Insider.