Lydia Ko – file photo
Lydia Ko has consolidated her opening round lead at the Gainbridge LPGA event at Lake Nona in Orlando, adding a second round 69 to lead by one over Nelly Korda.
A 15-time LPGA Tour event winner, Ko, playing on her now home golf course, has not won since 2018 but she has shown signs of late that the game which saw her dominate women’s golf during 2015 and 2016 is on its way back.
After an early bogey today, Ko birdied four of six holes on her way to the turn although she did bogey her 9th and 12th holes before a late recovery kept her clear of the impressive Korda.
When asked if she had set a goal before today’s round Ko was quick to respond. “I personally don’t shoot like setting goals because sometimes it could be really windy and even par could be a great, great score. Obviously a round like yesterday would be nice, but sometimes just putting numbers is just a number and all I can do is just try my best and be committed.
“I think in general my goal is to just make sure I hit every shot with commitment and be aggressive with that, and I think I’ve been able to do that pretty well. So hoping to continue that over the weekend.
“It’s definitely nice to be in contention at the top of leaderboard,” said Ko referring to the fact she has not won in three years. “No matter what happens over the weekend, I think it’s good to just keep putting myself in these positions. I think you get more comfortable with it and the more times you’re there I think the higher chance that at the end it will all happen for you.
“So I’m trying to not think about what may happen on Sunday. I’m just trying to take one shot at a time, and if I’m able to do it pretty well and be in contention going into Sunday the last few holes, that’s great.
“I think result needs to be more secondary for me. I just need to be more comfortable and have belief in my own game.”
New South Wales’ Sarah Kemp is doing very well having added a second round of 69 to be tied for 8th. Kemp has not recorded a top ten on the LPGA Tour since finishing 10th at the Australian Women’s Open two years ago so this is an encouraging start for her.
Kemp made mention of the benefit of extra work on her wedge game over the off period.
“My wedges have been really good,” said the 35 year old. “I purchased a TrackMan at the end of last year and I’ve done a lot of work with wedges on it especially, so like calibrating even where I grip it on the grip, the letters that I grip it on and stuff like that and my swing lengths, and it’s really paid off with my wedges, so that’s good.
Australia’s Gabi Ruffels, in her first event as a professional made the cut but she needed a strong finish to do so. She birdied her 13th, 14th and 15th holes to ease her way into the weekend field and further confirmed her considerable promise.
Katherine Kirk and Sarah Jane Smith both missed the cut.
Another player to make the cut was Annika Sorenstam who finished right on the cut mark after a second round of 71. It was Sorenstam’s first LPGA Tour event in 13 years but even after that significant break she displayed that she still has what it takes.