CARLSBAD, Calif. — Nanna Koerstz Madsen shot a 5-under 67 on Friday to take a two-shot lead in the JTBC Classic in a bid to win on back-to-back starts.
Two weeks after breaking through in Thailand to become Denmark’s first LPGA Tour champion, Koerstz Madsen was back on top at Aviara Golf Club in the final round before the season’s first major tournament next week at Mission Hills.
“I have confidence there,” Koerstz Madsen said. “I made a lot of good putts there. Today I hit more fairways which gave me more birdie opportunities. A lot of good things. »
One shot behind top-seeded Jin Young Ko after an opener of 66, Koerstz Madsen got off to fast starts on both nines in her morning round. She said she felt more comfortable and relaxed after the decisive victory in Thailand.
“Especially on the first tee,” Koerstz Madsen said. “I don’t know, it just changes you a bit I guess to have a win on your back, especially so recently.”
She birdied four of the front five, dropped a shot on the par-5 eighth and landed three more birdies on the first four holes of the back nine. She returned a hit with a bogey on the par-5 17th.
JTBC Classic full scores
“As long as I do what I can do, it’s good for me,” Koerstz Madsen said. “If I stay positive there, then I’m happy with that.”
Lydia Ko (67) and Hye-Jin Choi (68) were 9 under, and Jin Young Ko (71) was another comeback shot with Na Rin An (67) and Maude-Aimee Leblanc (68).
After picking up a win three weeks ago in Singapore, Jin Young Ko extended his tour record for consecutive sub-par rounds to 32, but his streak of rounds in the 60s ended at 16.
“I tried to reach 60, but I couldn’t,” Jin Young Ko said. “I don’t know what happened. But the greens are a bit tricky for me, so I missed a lot of putts.
Winner of six of her last 10 tournaments, she is preparing for the Chevron Championship, the major tournament she won in 2019 and which is being played at Mission Hills for the last time.
“I still have two days before the major tournament,” she said. “I look forward to the next two days.”
Lydia Ko won the 2016 tournament. She won the Gainbridge LPGA in January.
“Gave myself a couple more chances to birdie today,” Lydia Ko said. medium and long term putts. I was able to figure things out maybe when the temperature warmed up.
Choi finished with a birdie on the 18th. The 22-year-old South Korean rookie finished second at the 2017 US Women’s Open as an amateur,
“I’m a little nervous, but I’m very happy with my round yesterday and today,” Choi said. “I will do my best for the final laps.”
Defending champion Inbee Park had 5 under after a 68. She played alongside Jin Young Ko and Jessica Korda the first two days. Korda was also 5 under, shooting 70.
Race to CME Globe point guard Danielle Kang was 1 under after opening 69 with a 74. She won the season-opening Tournament of Champions in January.
Lexi Thompson was also 1 under after a 70. She closed with an eagle on the par-4 ninth.