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Nelly Korda birdies final six holes for KPMG lead; ready for 'monster' test this weekend

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JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – Nelly Korda was unstoppable on Friday, but can she remain unbeatable at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship? Korda started her round on the back nine at Atlanta Athletic Club and birdied her last six holes to shoot 9-under 63 to take a one-shot lead over Lizette Salas, at 11 under. 

The par-3 fourth marked the beginning of her six-hole birdie streak. “I hit an arrow at the pin,” she said. “Probably had 20 feet and just crept in from the side on the left.”

Boom. Birdie No. 1. 

On the par-5 fifth, Korda hit a 7-wood into the green and then lipped out the eagle putt for a tap-in birdie. At the following par-4 sixth, which was moved up to 229 yards, Korda hit another 7-wood to about 10 feet and missed her eagle putt for her second consecutive tap-in birdie – No. 3 of the streak.

KPMG Women’s PGA Championship: Full-field scores | Full coverage

A dart with her 5-iron on the par-3 seventh left her 5 feet for birdie and the streak continued. The following hole was special, as she made an uphill 35-footer that snuck in on the left side. On her final hole, the par-4 ninth, Korda had 124 yards to the hole. “That was a controlled pitching wedge, and I just hit it over the pin,” she said. “Probably had an 8-footer down the hill left to right,” she recounted.

This is the most the 22-year-old has felt this dialed in since 2019, when she had 12 top-10s and two wins – the Australian Open and the Taiwan Swinging Skirts. 

“It's nice when you're on top of your game and everything is going well, but you also have the roller coasters,” said Korda, who missed the cut at the U.S. Women’s Open at Olympic Club shooting 78-75. 

“Every golf course is a new monster,” she continued. “When you win, it's hard. I've never won towards the end of my stretch, I've always won at the beginning, so it doesn't even soak in that I've won,” she said, referring to last week at the Meijer Classic, where she shot 25 under par and became the only player to win twice this year. 

She certainly has the ability to win a third time. “I've always said, props to the people that have won back-to-back because it's very hard,” Korda replied when asked if she’s ever won consecutive events.

In order to make history for herself, Korda said she must “completely forget about it,” referring to the leaderboard. “Like it's a clean slate,” she said. “Just go out there and try to compete with the golf course, try to beat the golf course and see what kind of monster it is that day.”