Korda survives ‘oopsy’ as Szokol takes surprise LPGA lead Story-level
Former world number one Nelly Korda survived a “little oopsy” to score a four-under-par 68, four shots behind surprise leader Elizabeth Szokol, after the first round of the HSBC Women’s World Championship in Singapore on Thursday .
Olympic champion Korda was tied for third after she managed to hit a par following a wide tee shot on the short fourth hole and keep in touch with Szokol.
Korda’s American compatriot, ranked 153rd in the world, shot a superb 8-under 64 at Sentosa Golf Club.
2021 US Women’s Open champion Yuka Saso of Japan was in second place, three shots back, after a 67 in the $1.8 million LPGA event.
“I played really solid,” said Korda, who is ranked second in the world and was coming off a tie for sixth at the LPGA of Thailand last weekend.
“I had a bit of an oopsy, and that was on the par three.”
Szokol put the daylight between her and a star-studded field containing the world’s top five and 18 of the top 20.
Szokol opened with a bogey on the 10th, his first hole, but from there he never looked back, scoring seven birdies and an eagle to climb to the top of the leaderboard.
“It’s great. I’m very happy for the start,” said Szokol, who is on his way back after missing the second half of last season with a herniated disc in his back.
“I was out for about four or five months and I didn’t touch a golf club for about 12 weeks,” said the 28-year-old.
“I was really focused on getting better and feeling healthy. So I’m very happy to be back playing, and especially here.”
Saso, born in the Philippines, started her front nine strongly with four birdies to reach 32, but could only add one more to finish with 67.
The 21-year-old, who models her swing on Rory McIlroy, is still searching for her first LPGA win since her breakthrough in 2021.
“Winning on the LPGA is not easy,” Saso said. “I just have to keep pushing and give myself chances every week. But it’s hard. I just have to be patient and enjoy the ride.”
The pooled leaderboard saw South Korea’s Lee6 Jeong-eun and Kim Hyo-joo also at four under par along with Japan’s Ayaka Furue, Thai pairing Patty Tavatanakit and Ariya Jutanugarn, and Korda.
“Today was a good day. I feel like I stayed in the present a lot, I didn’t really think about what’s going to happen on the next hole,” said Tavatanakit, who won a major at the 2021 ANA Inspiration but slipped. to 65 in the world.
World number one Lydia Ko of New Zealand shared 14th place after two under 70s and defending champion Ko Jin-young of South Korea posted a par 72.