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Sarah Schmelzel shares Women’s PGA lead; Nelly Korda misses cut

Sarah Schmelzel, who has never won an LPGA event nor finished in the top 10 at a major, shares the lead midway through the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in Sammamish, Wash.

The 30-year-old Phoenix native shot a 5-under-par 67 on Friday at Sahalee Country Club to move to 6-under 138, leaving her atop the leaderboard alongside South Korea’s Amy Yang, who carded a second-round 68.

First-round leader Lexi Thompson (72 on Friday), South Korea’s Jin Young Ko (68) and Jaspan’s Hinako Shibuno (70) are tied for third place at 4 under.

Ireland’s Leona Maguire (71), Japan’s Miyu Yamashita (70) and South Korea’s Haeran Ryu (67) share sixth place at 3 under.

World No. 1 Nelly Korda, who was one shot off the lead after the opening round, posted a career-worst 6-over 81 on Friday and missed the cut by one stroke.

It was her third consecutive missed cut at the Women’s PGA Championship and her second consecutive missed cut in a major after she came up short at the U.S. Women’s Open in Lancaster, Pa., earlier this month.

Schmelzel logged six birdies, including two at Nos. 17 and 18, and just one bogey, at the par-3 13th hole, on Friday.

“Just staying really patient out there,” Schmelzel said. “Staying aggressive off the tees is kind of our game plan this week. I drove it really well, so fortunately I was able to take advantage of having some shorter irons in today.

“Saw a few putts go in early, which always helps build the confidence for the rest of the day, and fortunately just kept the momentum all day.”

Yang closed her bogey-free round with a birdie at the par-5 18th hole.

“My back had been bothering me last few days, but I was still striking the ball really well like (Thursday), and so I thought it would be fine,” Yang said. “I woke up (Friday) and starting few holes was feeling a little pain on my lower back, but I fought through really well and that actually gave me more like focus out there.”

Korda’s horrendous round began with four consecutive bogeys, and she was 6 over on the day at the turn. She added two more bogeys before a double-bogey on the par-4 15th hole. Korda got her lone birdie of the day at No. 18, but it wasn’t enough to make the cut.

“It’s just golf recently for me,” she said. “No words for how I’m playing right now. I’m just going to go home and try to reset.”

Korda tied the all-time LPGA record this spring when she won five consecutive starts.

“A lot went my way at the beginning part of the year, and (I’m) just giving it back,” she said.

–Field Level Media

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