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Korda makes strong start to LPGA record bid

golf19 April 2024 03:10| Ā© AFP
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Nelly Korda made a strong start to her bid for a record-equalling fifth straight LPGA Tour win with a four-under-par 68 Thursday at the Chevron Championship, the first women's major of the year.

The world No 1 from the United States was two strokes behind leader and compatriot Lauren Coughlin, who shot a superb bogey-free 66 at The Club at Carlton Woods, Texas.

The 25-year-old Korda is looking to match the five-tournament streaks achieved by Nancy Lopez in 1978 and Annika Sorenstam in 2005.

Korda made a shaky start with a bogey on the par-four second but she recovered with four birdies before the turn.

A bogey on the 10th was followed by birdies at 14 and 17 as she joined Marina Alex and Japan's Minami Katsu tied in second place.

Korda said that her run of three consecutive events last month had taken a toll, suggesting she was only at 70 per cent when she teed up.

"I think those three weeks, I didn't think that it was going to drain me as much as it did maybe mentally," she said.

"I can definitely still feel maybe a little bit of tiredness, so it took me a while to get going. I felt the nerves definitely at the start of the round.

"Once I made the turn, I was just playing free golf," she said.

Korda will not have to contend with world No 2 Lilia Vu, who withdrew from the tournament with a back injury.

The 31-year-old Coughlin has yet to win on the LPGA but is benefiting from a recent change of putter.

Another recent change saw Coughlin, ranked 94th, bring her husband John Pond as her caddie.

"He's been begging me to give him an opportunity, a real opportunity, because he's caddied for me off and on over the years. But I was like, okay, I'll give you these three weeks. I'll know after three weeks if we can do it," she said.

"When I say 'we', I mean me. Because I know he can do all of the things that I need him to do. It's more just ā€“ we've never spent that much time together, so it's just like can I do that, can I have the boundaries that we need to have."

New Zealand's Lydia Ko, who is one win away from entering the LPGA Hall of Fame, is a stroke behind Korda, three off the lead, after carding 69.

Texan Angela Stanford is chasing a different kind of record after teeing it up for her 98th consecutive major ā€“ she hopes to reach the century mark later this season.

"Only one other person has done it ā€“ Jack Nicklaus did it. Nobody else has done it. I'd like to be the first female to do it," said the 46-year-old.

"It does matter to me because I call it being stubborn. That's why I'm still here. But I love it. I love playing."

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