Nelly Korda 36 holes from history, takes Chevron Championship lead

After Nelly Korda walked off the par-4 1st hole, you would have thought her chances of holding the lead by day’s end were slim to none.

But her “never give up” mentality came through once again on Friday at the Chevron Championship, the LPGA’s first major of the season.

“Yeah, started out with a double. That was fun,” Korda said.

“I hit two shots out of the left fairway bunker. I just 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.”

Korda’s opening six dropped her back to 2-under for the championship, but by the time she reached the 5th hole, she had already clawed her way back to where she began the day at 4-under.

“I didn’t feel bad at all. Sometimes, when you start to make mistakes, you just don’t really feel confident, or you don’t feel that great. But I just told myself that it’s the first hole of the tournament today,” Korda said of her start.

“Even though I may have made a double, I wanted to save a bogey. There is still so much golf to be played, and there is still a good bit of gettable par-5s. So that’s usually what I think about, is just the opportunities that I have ahead.”

Korda took full advantage of the par-5s on Friday, playing them at 4-under par. Her only two birdies on the back nine came on the 13th and 18th holes, both par-5s. She finished the day at 7-under after shooting a 3-under 69 and walked off the course with a one-shot lead.

“Hitting the fairway really helps. I’ve just been hitting the driver really well, and, yeah, just capitalizing on good drives,” Korda said, explaining why she has had success on par-5s.

“When you hit the fairway, I mean, I had a 5-iron in on this 18th hole, and on 8, I had a 6-iron in. So I’m just hitting the driver really well and exactly kind of where I want. I think that’s key on par-5s.”

Nelly Korda, The Chevron Championship

Nelly Korda hits a tee shot during the second round of the 2024 Chevron Championship.
Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Korda arrived at The Chevron Championship having won four straight tournaments. Her historic play has been otherworldly, but during that stretch, she has relied on a similar formula that she used again Friday: decimate the par-5s.

“I try to look at over every hole like an opportunity,” Korda added.

“If I’m continuing to hit my driver the way I do, I have some shorter clubs in compared to maybe some other girls, so just sticking to my process.”

Most certainly, if Korda keeps hitting it like she has off the tee, nobody will catch her. She is now 36 holes from winning a fifth straight event, which only Annika Sorenstam and Nancy Lopez have ever achieved. A victory would put Korda in pretty good company, as she would also pick up her second career major championship.

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough for more golf coverage. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko as well.

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