Jessica Korda Holds Reignwood LPGA Classic Lead


American Jessica Korda carded 68 in the 2nd round Friday and held on to the slim lead she established in the 1st round of the Reignwood LPGA Classic.  She now at -14 for the tournament, 2 shots ahead of her closest challenger, China’s only pro golf winner, Shanshan Feng.  Korda, who joined the LPGA Tour in 2011 and is Rolex Ranked 26th, is hunting her 2nd career win.  She’s made 35 starts since she seized the victory at the 2012 ISPS Women’s Australian Open.  At the mid-point in the Reignwood, she’s looking good for a breakthrough.

Korda made the headlines when she fired her caddie in the middle of the US Women’s Open last June and put her boyfriend on the bag in the middle of the 2nd round.  That drama aside, she’s been playing a strong, competitive game this year with 8 top-10 finishes.  But she’s without a victory and she’s clearly aiming for the top of the board.

"I’m kind of going after it. I had a great break for two weeks after Evian back in Czech Republic with my family and I feel really relaxed here. It seems to be a really good golf course; it suits my eye. Jessica Korda"

Feng & Lewis Challenging Korda

Shanshan Feng, sharing the 2nd slot on the board with the top-ranked American player Stacy Lewis, actually outplayed Korda in the 2nd round, but she couldn’t close the gap on Korda’s 1st round lead.

Lewis and Feng are both getting the course under control.  Feng, a local favorite in Beijing, got her flat stick fired up and shot a bogie-free 2nd round of 64 on Friday, 6 shots lower than her 1st round score and 4 shots less than Korda’s 2nd round score.  Ranked at 9th by Rolex,   Like Korda, Feng is also hunting her 2nd LPGA victory.

Stacy Lewis outplayed both Korda and Feng in the 2nd round and shaved 2 shots off her 1st round score.   Lewis fired a string of 6 birdies on the back 9 on Friday as she played out a 2nd bogie-free round.  She’s playing drama-free golf!  Can she do the same on Saturday?

What’s looking like a 3-horse race at the Reignwood LPGA Classic could easily turn into a 5-horse race on Saturday if South Koreans Na Yeon Choi and Inbee Park turn on the competitive heat.  Choi, who shared a 1st round lead with Korda, had a rough start on her Friday round, carded 71, and dropped down the board to the 4th slot.

Inbee Park, trying to play her way out of a 3-month slump, is going in the right direction at the Reignwood LPGA Classic.  She played steady, careful, bogie-free golf on Friday, carded 68, and at -9 is 5 shots off Korda’s mid-tournament lead.  That’s a gap Park has closed more than once, and if she can match her mental strength with a revived flat stick Korda may not be able to hold her off, not with 2 rounds remaining.

Still in the Game

Although the battle for the top spot on the board seems to be firming up at this point, there are some players a bit further down the leaderboard who are perfectly capable of closing the distance on Korda’s lead.  Australian Karrie Webb  and Norwegian Carolina Hedwall are both at -7 for the tournament.  Both of them shaved 3 shots off their 1st round scores and Solheim superstar Hedwall did it with a double bogie on the 14th hole.  With 2 rounds remaining neither of them is out of the game.

Right below Webb and Hedwall, South Korean So Yeon Ryu and Thai player Pornanong Phatlum are at -6 for the tournament.  Ruy, Rolex Ranked 5th, took 2 strokes off her 1st round game and if she piles up a string of birdies she could zip right through the competition that’s between her and Korda.  Phatlum, at 59th in the Rolex Rankings, looks like a dark horse and with 4 bogies on her 2nd round card, she may be less likely than Ryu to move up the board.  But Phatlum’s performance at the Safeway Classic in August revealed a winning game.  Can she pull it out of her bag on Saturday and turn her game around?

Three Solheim alumnae are lurking among a crowd sharing 15th place at -5 for the tournament.  The Spanish duo, Beatriz Recari and Azahara Muñoz, and American Lizette Salas, are all capable firing up their flat sticks and moving up the board.

Muñoz previewed her top-flight game when she eagled the par-5 16th hole on Friday.  That’s the same game we saw last week when she won the LET Lacoste Ladies Open de France.  The game Recari played to win the Marathon Classic in July and claim a 9th place finish at The Evian Championship in September  needs to come out of her bag on Saturday if she wants to make a bid for the top of the board.   And Salas, Rolex Ranked 15th, with 6 top-10 finishes, is still hunting her first LPGA victory.  This probably isn’t it, but she has the capability to get into the top-10 again if she’ll play her game.  I’m watching all three of these players.  The leaderboard is still volatile.

With Korda, Feng, and Lewis paired for the Saturday 3rd round, and with Golf Channel coverage shifted to a more civilized time, 3-6pm ET on Saturday, we’ll get the opportunity to watch the action at the Reignwood LPGA Classic unfold!