Tokyo Olympics: Nelly Korda fights to stay in pole for golf gold

By Sports Desk August 06, 2021

Nelly Korda is attempting to banish thoughts of an Olympic gold medal even as she closes in on winning the women's golf tournament.

The 23-year-old American will carry a three-shot lead into the final round at Kasumigaseki Country Club after shooting a two-under 69 on Friday to reach 15 under par.

She had to scramble at times after a bright start and made 10 consecutive pars following a bogey six at the eighth hole, with Korda relieved to stay firmly in control through 54 holes.

Aditi Ashok of India sits second after a 68 moved her to 12 under, with third place at 10 under shared by New Zealand's Lydia Ko, Australia's Hannah Green, Emily Kristine Pedersen of Denmark and Japan's Mone Inami.

Asked what pleased her most about her round, Korda said: "Probably my fight. I didn't really have a good back nine. I was kind of spraying it all over the place.

"I made all pars and fought really hard to stay in it really, or ahead of it. If I was sloppy and didn't fight the way I did, I could definitely have shot a couple over par on the back nine easily. I had a couple of testy par putts but I never give up."

As for imagining a gold medal around her neck, Korda said it was only natural to let that thought cross her mind.

"I feel like everyone does it, but that's when you need to take a step back," she said. "There's still 18 more holes to go, there's still a lot that can happen.

"I try to remind myself even though I think about it – I quickly shake my head and I'm like, 'No, no, no, no, it's not there yet, we're not there, we still have a long way to go'."

The weather forecast for the weekend suggests it may be a struggle to fit in a fourth round, with storms expected to brush the east coast of Japan.

Therefore Korda will have already done enough if the tournament is reduced to a three-round event, but she is putting that thought to one side.

An early start has been scheduled for Saturday, with the first groups out at 06:30 local time. Korda, Ashok and Ko will be the last trio out starting from the first, weather permitting, at 08:18.

"My mindset is 72 holes, so I'm sticking to that and trying to give myself opportunities and make them," Korda said. "I'm trying to stay as present as possible and see how it goes.

"I've been really calm the last three days. I haven't really gotten nervous."

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