Nelly Korda hits from the 17th tee during the second...

Nelly Korda hits from the 17th tee during the second round of the Chevron Championship LPGA golf tournament Friday, April 19, 2024, at The Club at Carlton Woods, in The Woodlands, Texas. Credit: AP/David J. Phillip

THE WOODLANDS, Texas — Nelly Korda, seeking to tie an LPGA Tour record with her fifth straight win, shot a 3-under 69 on Friday in the second round of the Chevron Championship, leaving her one shot behind leaders Atthaya Thitikul and Jin Hee Im in the year’s first major.

Korda began the day two shots off the lead after opening with a 68 at Carlton Woods. She got out to a tough start Friday, making a double bogey on the first hole before making birdies on two of the next three. She finished with six birdies, one bogey and the double to post 7-under 137.

“Started out with a double. That was fun,” Korda joked. “I hit two shots out of the left fairway bunker. Just kind of didn’t catch it super clean and it didn’t actually hit the bunker lining, just the grass, and bumped back in. Then I bounced back with a birdie and made a birdie on the following par 5. Kind of all over the place on the front nine, but pretty clean scorecard on the back with two birdies.”

The top-ranked Korda is seeking her second major after winning the Women’s PGA Championship in 2021. She could join Nancy Lopez (1978) and Annika Sorenstam (2004-05) as the only players to win five consecutive LPGA events.

She was asked if it felt inevitable that she’d tie the record after her recent run of success and strong play in the first two rounds.

“I’m just at the halfway point right now. The amount of golf that I’ve played, I still have that to go,” she said. “There is still a lot of golf left and anything can happen. Just going to stick to my process and vibe with ... what my coach says.”

With increased attention on this tournament because of Korda’s string of titles, what would the 25-year-old like people who might be seeing her first time this weekend to know about her?

Nelly Korda hits from the 14th tee during the second...

Nelly Korda hits from the 14th tee during the second round of the Chevron Championship LPGA golf tournament Friday, April 19, 2024, at The Club at Carlton Woods, in The Woodlands, Texas. Credit: AP/David J. Phillip

“That I just never give up,” she said. “No matter what, no matter how much adversity is thrown your way, they know that I never give up and I give it my all.”

Thitikul, a 21-year-old from Thailand who has won twice on the LPGA Tour, missed the beginning of this season with a thumb injury. She made six birdies and one bogey Friday to shoot 67, matching Im at 136.

Im is in her first season on the LPGA Tour after playing the Korean LPGA since 2018. She had a bogey-free 67.

Lydia Ko, who won this tournament in 2016 at Mission Hills in the California desert, shot 71 and was part of a big group four shots back. Ko missed the cut last year in the Chevron's first season in Texas.

Atthaya Thitikul, of Thailand, hits from the fourth tee during...

Atthaya Thitikul, of Thailand, hits from the fourth tee during the second round of the Chevron Championship LPGA golf tournament Friday, April 19, 2024, at The Club at Carlton Woods, in The Woodlands, Texas. Credit: AP/Eric Gay

First-round leader Lauren Coughlin shot 73 to fall three shots off the pace.

Amateur Lottie Woad, a sophomore at Florida State, shot 69 and was 4 under through 36 holes in her first LPGA event. The 20-year-old from England earned a spot by winning the Augusta National Women’s Amateur earlier this month.

“It’s definitely been a whirlwind,” Woad said. “Kind of didn’t really have a chance to let Augusta sink in really. Was just coming here straight away. I obviously took a lot of confidence from Augusta, so just trying to use that for this week.”

Woad is missing the ACC Championship with the Seminoles to compete in this tournament.

So Yeon Ryu shot 74 to miss the cut and end her competitive career. The two-time major champion announced before the event that she planned to retire after 13 LPGA seasons and six titles.

A group of friends, relatives and several other South Korean players greeted Ryu with flowers and Champagne as she came off the green.

“I’m just very numb,” she said. “I cannot believe this is real. Now I’m going to cry. (But I) tell myself I’m not going to cry because this is the day I need to be happy with.”

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