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LPGA pros bracing for another weekend of chilling conditions in Florida at Gainbridge

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As the Northeast prepares for a nor'easter this weekend, many Northerners might wish that they were down in the sunshine of Florida. 

But even those in the Sunshine State will be breaking out the layers and hand warmers this weekend. 

Last week at the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions in Orlando, weekend temperatures dropped into the 50s and world No. 1 Nelly Korda said she was "freezing" and "stiff" as she shot a final-round 75 and lost the 54-hole lead. 

And now roughly three hours south of Orlando in Boca Raton, Florida, at this week's Gainbridge LPGA, temperatures are expected to dip into the 30s at times this weekend but will mostly hover around 50 degrees with 20 mph winds. However, the temperature already began to drop on Friday and Lydia Ko, who shares the Day 2 lead with Danielle Kang at 11 under, shot a 70 on Friday compared to her 63 on Thursday, citing the weather as a factor.

"I think the temperature was kind of a big thing," Ko said after Round 2. "Par-5s that played pretty short yesterday, it played like a completely different hole. Yesterday I hit driver, 3-wood and a little flick wedge into 10, and today it was like a low driver, 3-wood, and like an 8-iron. So it just shows how much the weather and the conditions can make the golf course play so differently."

Full-field scores from the Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio

Ko, a New Zealander who now resides in Florida, is surprised by the frigid conditions and her mother went to the supermarket Thursday night to get what she needed for the weekend, but she didn't leave the store with what she was looking for. 

"You know it's cold when they've run out of hand warmers at the nearest supermarket," she said.

Unlike Ko, Lexi Thompson, a native Floridian who's T-13 at 4 under following 36 holes, was able to get her hands on some coveted hand warmers and hopes they will help her make a run this weekend as she looks for her first win since 2019.

"Wear as many layers as you can," Thompson said. "For me, I don't like swinging in too many layers. Probably only have a shirt and a jacket on, maybe a beanie. But I'll have the hand warmers going and probably put on a rain jacket in between shots. Just try to stay warm. There is nothing really else. Get the hand warmers going, keep the hands in the pockets, hope for the best. Hope for the best."

Ko rolling with the punches at Gainbridge LPGA

Ko rolling with the punches at Gainbridge LPGA

Karrie Webb, a Hall of Famer with seven major victories, is making her first LPGA start since November 2020. And although she remains a longshot to win in Boca Raton — currently 10 shots back of the lead — she made her first cut in three years. Though that feat may come back to bite her a little bit, the 47-year-old Aussie is ready for the final two rounds. 

"That's the reward for making the cut, right? Get to play in bad weather over the weekend," Webb said. "Yeah, been a while since I played in cold weather, so see how it goes. Lots of layers and try and stay as warm as possible."

But for the players who had the chance to play last week's LPGA season opener in the chilling climate at Lake Nona, that might just set them apart from the rest of the field at Boca Rio.

"You just have to play with the conditions that you get," Ko said. "Luckily for us, I got to practice playing in four, five layers of clothing last week. That will kind of be the go-to goal tomorrow as well."