WASHINGTON: Defending champion Nelly Korda curled in an eagle putt at the 18th hole on Saturday to grab a one-shot lead over Jennifer Kupcho heading into the final round of the Meijer LPGA Classic in Michigan.
Former world number one Korda started the day two off Kupcho’s lead and carded a six-under par 66 that featured two eagles to edge ahead on 18-under par 198.
Kupcho had four birdies and a bogey in her three-under 68 at Blythefield Country Club near Grand Rapids, and on 199 was two strokes in front of Canadian Brooke Henderson, who carded a bogey-free five-under 67 for 201.
Korda, playing her second tournament since a blood clot in her left arm caused her to miss four months, applied some early pressure on Kupcho with a birdie at the seventh and an eagle at the eighth.
She added another birdie at the 12th, but after a bogey at 13 she was still two shots behind Kupcho, who had picked up strokes with birdies at the fourth, eighth and 10th.
But after Korda birdied 14 and Kupcho bogeyed 17 they arrived at the par-five 18th tied.
Korda, who had come up short with a birdie putt at 17, didn’t make the same mistake and was rewarded by a massive cheer from the gallery.
“Oh my gosh, that was the loudest roar I’ve heard in a long time,” said Korda, who followed her Meijer win last year with a victory in the Women’s PA Championship that vaulted her to number one in the world.
“It actually kind of gave me goosebumps,” she said. “I had a left-to-righter on 17 and I didn’t play high enough. I had a left-to-righter again so I told myself that I was going to play it up enough. “It just barely went in, and it was perfect.”