Henderson Takes Lead With Korda at ANA Inspiration | LPGA

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RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. (AP) – Brooke Henderson tied a Mission Hills record with a 30 on the first nine and did just enough the rest of the lap on Saturday for a 7-under-65 and a share of the lead with Nelly Korda in the ANA Inspiration.Henderson started the weekend six strokes behind and just wanted to get as close to the lead as possible. Now she enters the final round with a second major championship in her sights.

Korda started with a two-stroke lead and fell three strokes back with a tough stretch over the first nine, especially the sixth hole hitting 5 woods across the fairway in the rough gnarled and not passing over the water, leading to a double bogey.

She rallied with three birdies out of the last nine, however, for a 71 that saw her join Henderson at 12 under 204.

They have a two-stroke lead over Lexi Thompson (69), Mirim Lee (71) and Katherine Kirk, who will quietly go about her business with a 67 that landed the Australian in the final group.

“Kind of an easy start that was nice and a bit relaxed,” said Henderson. “On moving day, I wanted to get a solid round and try to climb as much as possible in the standings. Still a lot of golf to play, but it’s nice to see my name up there. And I hope that tomorrow I can post a similar tour. ”

It was the hottest day of the tournament, with the temperature soaring to just above 100 degrees by the end of the day, aided by a light haze from the California fires that kept the sun from burning any harder. Korda was among those with a new umbrella in the back to protect himself from the sun.

Korda, the 22-year-old current for her first major, began to fight her way with a birdie on par 5 11th, a 3-foot gap for a birdie on 12 and a pitch wedge just above the bunker which deployed 5 feet for birdie on the 15th, regaining part of the lead.

She lay down on par 5 18, but left her corner about 18 feet above the hole and had to settle for a par.

Thompson, four behind to start the round, quickly came back into the game with a two-stroke swing over Korda on back-to-back holes. Thompson landed a 35-foot bird putt on the fifth par 3, where Korda hit three bogey putts, then Korda made his double bogey on the next hole. Thompson hit a small wedge on one foot to close the back nine and seemed to make her move.

Instead, it was the last birdie she made. Her best putt was a 15-foot par on the No.13. She was among the few who went for the green on the 18th, sending it to the right and under a cameraman’s chair. She took a bold step down the hill at 5 feet and missed the birdie putt.

Ten players were separated by four shots, a group that included Carlota Ciganda under 207 and former Mission Hills winner Stacy Lewis another shot. Both shot 67,

Also at 8 under 208 was US amateur champion Rose Zhang, who shot a 68. The 17-year-old won the amateur last month over Gabriela Ruffels, who was 6 under 210 in a strong amateur performance this past month. week.

Henderson started her round by missing a short birdie putt, which only annoyed her until a 3-wood on the next 12-foot hole that led to the Eagle, and she was on her way. She closed her front nine with a 2-foot birdie throw and a 30, and was only disappointed that she didn’t take more off the back nine.

It doesn’t matter. She was tied for the lead, more than she expected when she left. And while the Canadian saw this round as an emotional day, Sunday might not be much different with so many players still in the mix.

That includes Kirk, a 38-year-old Australian with three LPGA wins and a runner-up in her previous 59 major league appearances. She opened up with two quick birds and did enough to think about what it would be like to earn the ANA Inspiration and dive into Popie’s Pond around the 18th green.

“It’s so hot in here and it would be great to cool off,” Kirk said. “I have a lot of work to do, and there are a lot of great players in the standings, so I’m probably going to have to go low tomorrow and it’s going to take a really good number. But anything is possible in this game. “

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