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Kyriacou upstages big-name Aussies at LPGA Tour event

3 minute read

Nelly Korda has made a good start in pursuit of a landmark sixth straight LPGA title, with Steph Kyriacou the leading Aussie at the Founders Cup in New Jersey.

Nelly Korda.
Nelly Korda. Picture: AAP Image

Nelly Korda has made a solid start in her bid for a record sixth straight LPGA Tour victory while a host of Australians are in the mix to scupper the American's crack at golfing history.

Korda recorded four birdies and a bogey in a three-under-par 69 start to the Cognizant Founders Cup in New Jersey.

That left the 25-year-old superstar six shots behind fellow American Rose Zhang, who went round the Upper Montclair Country Club in 63 on Thursday.

Sweden's Madelene Sagstrom is solo second after a 65, but the Australian challenge looked strong on the opening day, led by Steph Kyriacou's 66 to be tied third with Japan's Narin An and Ireland's Leona Maguire.

Grace Kim is tied for eighth following a four-under 68, one stroke ahead of Gabriela Ruffels, Hannah Green and Sarah Kemp, who share 18th with Korda.

Korda teed off early along with defending champion Jin Young Ko of South Korea and Australia's 2022 champion Minjee Lee, who is also still well in the hunt after a two-under 70.

Korda ignited her round by sinking a 10-foot birdie putt on her ninth hole to get to one under, and she also made shorter ones on two of the par-5s.

"There is still three more days," said Korda, who used her short game to save par a couple of times.

"I know the weather is not supposed to be great and there is just different factors that go into the rest of the tournament. So it's definitely nice to get a good round in.

"Still a long, long way away from Sunday."

Korda, who fulfilled a childhood dream by walking on the red carpet at the Met Gala on Monday, was followed during her round by about 100 fans, who politely cheered her birdies on the course just outside of New York.

Chasing a maiden LPGA Tour win, Kyriacou chalked up seven birdies to be the leading Australian.

"Today was a very good day for me," the 23-year-old said.

"I just took advantage of all the opportunities I gave myself.

"I hit a poor tee shot at three and made a bogey. That wasn't that exciting, but I just had all those putts inside 10 feet and made some good up and downs and stayed pretty steady the whole day."

Kim had four birdies in the first five holes as she went one shot better than Korda, while the in-form Green, who won the Los Angeles Open two weeks ago for her second victory on tour this year, started well as she set out for a second straight win.

"I'm still a little bit surprised I've had two wins this year, I'll be honest," Green said.

"I just want to keep putting myself in contention and having those moments of trying to win the trophy on Sunday."

With AP

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