Nelly Korda: American takes ANA Inspiration lead as temperatures soar in California


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Battling temperatures exceeding 93 degrees (F) — they are expected to surpass 100 degrees as the second women’s golf major of the year progresses — the 22-year-old carded a six-under 66 in her opening round to give her a one-shot lead.

“It was definitely hot at the start of my round,” the world No. 3 told reporters.

“Towards the end of it we got a little bit of cloud coverage, so that was really nice. Just drinking lots of water and staying really patient out there is key.”

The major is being held at Mission Hills Country Club in California, a state which has recently recorded its highest-ever temperatures, reaching 121 degrees (F) in Woodland Hills on Sunday.
The high temperatures come as firefighters battle wildfires around the state. Statewide, more than 2.5 million acres have been scorched this year alone, according to Cal Fire, and Gov. Gavin Newsom has pointed to climate change as a primary factor in the wildfires.
In an effort to protect caddies and players from the heat, the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) announced it would allow caddies to take carts during the event. Players were told they must walk during tournament rounds.
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World No.6 Sei Young Kim uses a umbrella to protect herself from the sun during the first round of the ANA Inspiration.

Sport in the blood

It’s fair to say sport runs in the Korda family.

Nelly is the daughter of 1998 Australian Open tennis champion Petr. Her sister, Jessica, is also ranked in the world’s top 20 golfers and is also competing at the ANA Inspiration, carding an opening-round 74.

Her brother, 20-year-old Sebastian, is a professional tennis player who made his Grand Slam debut at the U.S. Open last week.

And Nelly, who finished tied in 14th place at the first major of the year at the AIG Women’s Open last month, got off to a great start after birdies in two of her opening three holes.

She finished her opening round with a birdie at the 18th to claim the first-round lead, just one shot ahead of two-time major champion In Gee Chun and Madelene Sagstrom of Sweden.

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Jin Young Ko, the world No. 1 and defending champion, opted out of defending her title in California, instead choosing to stay at home in South Korea during the coronavirus pandemic.

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