Zhang and Sagstrom lead as Nelly gets six in a row bid on track

Ronan MacNamara

Nelly Korda wins her fifth consecutive LPGA Tour event (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Ronan MacNamara

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Leona Maguire had hoped for some Irish weather for the second round of the Cognizant Founders Cup but she fell down the leaderboard in the wind and rain.

Maguire carded a four-over 76 to drop to two-under and a share of 29th place. The Cavan star trails leaders Madelene Sagstrom and Rose Zhang by eleven shots.

Both Sagstrom and Zhang lead the way on thirteen-under-par after rounds of 66 and 68 respectively.

It was a confidence-boosting day for Zhang, who has had an up-and-down year thus far in 2024, missing two cuts and recording two top-10 finishes in her six total starts this season, and the 20-year-old couldn’t stop smiling in her post-round press conference, clearly pleased that she finally put a low one together.

“It’s pretty big actually (for my confidence) because I know that the number is out there for me,” said Zhang. “If I’m able to get dialed in and do what I need to prior to playing an event, and also during the event, at least the number’s out there and I can let free a little bit more to play my own game. I think as long as I have that little bit of confidence, no matter what happens the next couple of days, I know that I’m going to be able to grind it out and figure something out along the way.”

However, lurking on nine-under-par and four shots back is Nelly Korda who reignited her chances of a sixth LPGA Tour win in a row with a bogey free 66.

The American can stand alone in the LPGA record books if she can land that elusive half dozen this weekend.

Korda roared out of the traps with birdies on the first, second, fifth and seventh to turn in 32.

A birdie at the par-5 14th came as the temperatures dropped on the back nine and she finished with a closing birdie to tie her lowest round on the LPGA Tour this season.

“You kind of have to say to yourself that everyone is going through these conditions and that you got to battle through it,” said Korda, who hasn’t made a bogey in 32 holes. “Everyone is in the same boat, and you just have to rise above it mentally and then enjoy the time that you have out there. I hit 17 out of 18 greens so that definitely helps. I tried going 18 for 18 but came up just short on 17.

“Hit it really well off the tee, too, which is crucial out here because the thick rough and wet conditions can get pretty brutal. Overall, I’m pretty pleased with my game.

“Everything is about staying very in the moment, staying very present in these kind of conditions, especially on this golf course,” said Korda. “Sometimes you get too ahead of yourself and maybe start pressing too much and making mistakes. I did a really good job staying present and in my own little bubble. Jess says it could be like a drinking game now how many times I say it.”

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