Last updated on July 16th, 2023 at 07:52 AM
Nelly Korda took control of the Aramco Team Series presented by PIF – London as she mastered the stormy conditions at Centurion Club.
The American star put together a near-flawless round of 69 that left her five clear at the top with two groups still to complete their second round after adverse weather led to a 90-minute suspension of play.
Play will resume at 7 am tomorrow for the final two groups, while round three for the individual event will start at approximately 9.30 am.
Korda, 24, played brilliantly as unrelenting high winds provided the sternest of challenges for the field. The highlight of a peerless performance came at the uphill par-5 15th, where she ripped a 3-wood from 238 yards to seven feet, before rolling home the eagle putt.
She also made three birdies to give herself a great chance of recording her first victory since securing the Pelican Women’s Championship last November. Her only blemish came at the 16th hole, where her par putt caught the lip but stayed above ground.
Korda said: “It was probably the most brutal weather I’ve played in a really long time. I would say this was one of my best rounds this year.
“I actually had a lot of fun out there. The weather may have not been too great, but I think when you are playing well in these rounds, you get to use a little bit more creativity and a different type of game. It’s a lot of fun.”
As for her thrilling eagle on 15, Korda perhaps surprised her caddie Jason McDede by reaching the green in two.
She added: “Jason told me that it was a three-shot hole, for sure – that there’s no way I could get there in two – and I just hit this bullet driver. I was actually hitting this controlled driver, like a low stinger, all day, which was really helping me in the wind. I got up to the ball and I just had a perfect number. I just hit it really good, and everything kind of came together.”
Korda will begin round three sat at nine-under-par, with her nearest rival Nicole Garcia back on four-under. Garcia was an early-morning starter and made five birdies, including one at the last, to sign for a two-under-par 71.
Home favourite Charley Hull started the day alongside Korda at the leaderboard summit. However, the English ace was unable to reproduce her first-day magic and slipped off the pace as a result of a 76.
Georgia Hall played a captain’s hand in taking her quartet to the brink of victory in the team event. The English ace chipped in for birdie at the 17th hole but saved the best to last where she came up with a marvellous eagle.
Off an awkward lie, Hall cracked a 3-wood to four feet from where she sunk a putt to lift her and her team-mates – Kylie Henry, Lea Anne Bramwell and amateur Michael Austick – to 24-under-par.
For a long time, it looked as if Hull’s quartet, including former England footballer Teddy Sheringham, may rise to the top. But they failed to capitalise on several clear-cut chances – most notably on the last green – to end up on 23-under.
The Aramco Team Series, which launched in 2021, sees teams competing over 36 holes on the Friday and Saturday of the tournament, with $500,000 prize money on offer.
Sunday’s final day of play will see only the lowest-scoring 60 players and ties from the opening two rounds return to the course to battle it out for a share of another $500,000 – this time in individual earnings.
Don’t miss out on the final chance to purchase tickets to witness the world’s best competing and to be a part of all the activities happening at Centurion Club tomorrow through Universe, where adult tickets are priced at £10, while those under 18 can attend for free.
For further information on the Aramco Team Series, please visit aramcoteamseries.com or follow the event on social media @aramco_series.