Jan 24th, 2021
Jessica Korda shoots 60 at Tournament of Champions
Danielle Kang leads by two going into final round
Photography: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
Korda opened with birdies on the 1st and 2nd holes and then made birdie or better on all but one hole in her inward nine, including draining an 18-foot eagle putt at the 17th. An ace at the par-3 18th hole would have given her just the second 59 in LPGA Tour history, but a 9-foot birdie was still a great way to cap an incredible day that put her at nineteen-under overall, just two strokes off the lead.
“Days like today don't come often, so you really cherish them when they do,” said Korda, whose previous best round was a 62 in the second round of the 2018 Honda LPGA Thailand, which she went on to win.
“Everything has to come together to have a day like today. So I'm very grateful that it came.”
NFL superstar Larry Fitzgerald and Fox News anchor Bret Baier played with Korda on Saturday and had a front- row seat to her magical day. Both players celebrated with her throughout the round but also did their very best to stay out of her way and not ruin her chance at history.
Fitzgerald, who called the experience “a pure courtesy and joy,” particularly marvelled about Korda’s finesse on the two closing holes.
“She had about 200 yards in (on No. 17), you know, a long carry, two-tiered green. She stood up there and hit that shot and it did not move one iota, and then rolled that putt in,” said Fitzgerald.
Fellow five-time Tour winner Danielle Kang continued her bogey-free streak for the third consecutive day, tying her career-low round of 63 and setting the tournament’s 54-hole scoring record at twenty-one-under. Her 192, which gives her a two-stroke lead over Korda, also ties the LPGA Tour’s low mark for strokes under par through 54 holes, previously done three times.
“Overall I think my game is pretty solid. I think my mental game is pretty strong this week. Just kind of chugging along,” said Kang, who is looking to become the first wire-to-wire winner without ties since Sei Young Kim at the 2019 CME Group Tour Championship.
“I know I'm being really repetitive, but that's what I'm doing, is just focusing on what I need to hit and what I need to execute. That's pretty much it. I don't think ahead or behind. I just try and stay in the present and have fun with it.”
Kang and Korda will be joined by Jessica’s younger sister Nelly Korda in Sunday’s final group. Nelly Korda was six-under through 14 holes, but bogeys at 15th and 18th holes dropped her to four-under on the day and fifteen-under overall. Two-time major champion In Gee Chun is fourth at thirteen-under and Canadian superstar Brooke Henderson rounds out the top five one shot further back. Defending champion Gaby Lopez is tied for eighth at nine-under.
In the celebrity competition, former tennis player Mardy Fish continues to lead the field at +117, followed by retired Jacksonville Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee at +111 and New York Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks at
+110. Fish, Hicks and Scobee will play together in Sunday’s penultimate group. Two-time defending celebrity champion John Smoltz is tied for sixth at +103. The celebrity competition is played under a Modified Stableford scoring system.