How many more laps will they play in Japan, the real pursuers of Nelly Korda and the race for silver and bronze | Golf News and Tour Information

Say what you want about Nelly Korda “settling” for an Under-62 game on Thursday in the second round of the women’s Olympic competition. Yes, a double bogey on the last hole hurts when a birdie could have given the 23-year-old American just the second 59 in professional women’s golf history.

Despite this, Korda’s consistently impressive performances – nine birdies and an eagle in an 11-hole stretch – left the world No. 1 with a four-stroke lead over a trio of golfers after 36 holes.

How paramount the question at Kasumigaseki Country Club is, where it’s unclear whether there are two rounds (as expected) or just one left in the tournament.

A tropical storm is expected to hit the east coast of Japan on Saturday during the scheduled final round, resulting in scattered thunderstorms and a 70% chance of rain. Forecasts are for the storm to linger on Sunday, with a 100 percent chance of rain as well as sustained winds of 30 miles per hour.

Despite the weather forecast, tournament officials hope to play all 72 holes and have set up a schedule that attempts to accomplish this task (according to Olympic Games rules, the tournament must be completed before Sunday’s closing ceremony). On Thursday, they published this notice to players:

“We continue to monitor the tropical storm that should affect this area from Saturday to Sunday. Weather permitting on Saturday we plan to start the final round, the fourth round of split tees on one and 10 at 6.30 a.m. here in Japan with the leaders starting last on No 1. If we don’t finish 72 holes on Saturday we have the option of completing 72 holes weather permitting on Sunday. If we cannot start or complete 72 holes, this competition will revert to a 54 hole event.

A week ago, another storm threatened the men’s tournament only to push back the ribs and not cause any disruption. That said, the forecast for this weekend is more worrying.

This is how players will begin Friday’s round (where separate tees will be used to try and help players start earlier and beat the predicted heat of 96 degrees) with uncertainty as to whether it will be. the third round or potentially the last round. It’s as if the players are in the Olympic pool ready to swim the 1,600-meter freestyle to be told halfway through whether the last four laps will be held or not.

While that ultimate question persists, here are four other takeaways from round two.

The foursome of golfers from South Korea and the United States have received most of the hype as Tokyo approaches, and that’s understandable. Four of the top six players in the world are South Koreans and the Korda sisters alongside Danielle Kang and Lexi Thompson provide a lot of firepower for the US team.

Still, the best country through 36 holes is Denmark, with Nanna Koerstz Madsen (63 in the second round) and Emily Kristine Pedersen (64) combining for 15 under Thursday with both players tied for second place in the third round.

“It’s amazing that two Danes are at the top,” said Pedersen. “I think this is a very good showcase for golf for Denmark and for women’s golf in Denmark and super happy that we are both up there.”

Koerstz Madsen did most of his damage on the top nine, dropping from six to eight thanks to an impressive putting demonstration. “I knew I had the game,” said the 26-year-old. “I knew my putting was good if I trusted him. So it all depends on whether it all adds up at the same time and that is sort of the case today. “

Koerstz Madsen entered the Rio Olympics with a solid T-13 finish. Pedersen, however, is making his Olympic debut, drawing on his experience competing with his compatriot to help him climb close to the top of the standings.

“We’ve kind of always pushed each other in competition,” Pedersen said of his relationship with Koerstz Madsen. “I think that’s one of the reasons we’re both so good and it’s been a good environment to grow up, to have someone to push you a lot.”

No one from Denmark has ever won on the LPGA Tour. An Olympic medal could be confidence building for one of the two to change that.

The medal race is a doozy

With Korda ahead and the trio of Pedersen, Koerstz Madsen and Indian Aditi Ashok second at nine under, 23 players are five strokes behind that line as the race for silver and bronze begins.

First-round leader Madelene Sagstrom, sitting eight under overall and fifth in solo after shooting 68 to follow up on her first 66, is the only player in the top five with a win over the LPGA.

Mone Inami of Japan is T-6 with world number 2 Jin Young Ko of South Korea at seven. Ko played with Korda the first two rounds and enjoyed seeing the record breaking performance in person. “Sounds easy,” Ko said. “I mean she’s playing like a bird, a bird, an eagle, a bird, a bird.”

In the chasing pack are prominent female football players. They include former LPGA winners Hannah Green (six below); Lydia Ko (five cents); Jessica Korda, Hyo-Joo Kim, Danielle Kang, Sei Young Kim, Matilda Castren, Wei-Ling Hsu, Nasa Hataoka and Shanshan Feng (four cents). Again, given the uncertainty of whether there are only 18 holes left to play or 36, expect some of these veteran players to be pretty aggressive on Friday in case it is the last round of the tournament. .

No longer the prevailing weather-related scenario, the heat still had an impact on the game in Round 2. Lexi Thompson’s original caddy, Jack Fulghum, retired after Round 15 of the first round and no did not come back in the bag on Wednesday. Instead, former PGA Tour caddy Drew Hinesley, on-site in Tokyo working for NBC this week, picked up the bag.

Thompson drew a tie on Thursday and is T-39 to one more.

The Olympic committee discussed trying to play 27 holes in the second and third days of the Olympics to squeeze through 72 holes before any potential weather-related delays. However, this was quickly brought down by the relentless heat at Kasumigaseki Country Club, with the heat index hitting 110 degrees for a second day in a row.

“I think they made the right decision because it’s way too hot,” Sagstrom said. “I would have liked it if it was cooler, but it’s just that everyone’s health is more important than playing golf.”

Friday’s forecast once again calls for temperatures in the 90s with a heat index hitting triple digits. In concession, players will play on the first and 10th tees in the third round to try to complete their rounds as soon as possible.

Former medalists hide near the podium

Rio’s top trio, Inbee Park, Lydia Ko and Shanshan Feng, performed together in the first two rounds in Japan and were hoping to relive their 2016 successes. And each has done so to varying degrees. Park is tied for 24th, while Ko (T-9) and Feng (T-11) have a more realistic chance of winning another medal.

Feng pulled the group low on Thursday, celebrating his 32nd birthday with a seven-under-64 without a bogey. “I knew I had to shake things up,” Feng said, knowing the tournament could be reduced to 54 holes. . “I should go down low to try to shake things up. “

Ko is in the best position of the previous medalists, shooting a 67-under-four to enter the top 10. Park had a 70-under-one for her sixth consecutive under-par at the Olympics. The LPGA Hall of Fame is 10 behind Korda, but only six outside of a medal.

Like everyone else on the pitch, Park’s medal chances vary widely if the tournament heads to its final tournament tomorrow or if 36 more are waiting for the pitch.

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