Moriya Jutanugarn double bogeyed her second hole, bogeyed two of her next three and was 4 over par through her first five holes at the Hugel-Air Premia L.A. Open.
And yet she ended the day one off the lead at Wilshire Country Club.
Jutanugarn played her final 13 holes in 10 under for a 6-under 65. She trails leader Jessica Korda, who finished birdie-birdie for a 64. Nelly Korda and Austin Ernst were in the clubhouse at 5 under par with others finishing on the course.
Jutanugarn, who started the day on the back nine, birdied her final four holes before the turn and then shot 6-under 29 coming in.
“I mean, I don’t realize until I sign the scorecard I shot 29 on the backside today,” Jutnaugarn said. “It was pretty fun.”
This event, in 2018, is the site of Jutanugarn’s lone LPGA Tour victory. Jessica Korda, meanwhile, is in search of win No. 2 on the year, having claimed the season-opening Tournament of Champions. The elder Korda had eight birdies and one bogey on Wednesday (the 72-hole event concludes on Saturday).
The younger Korda wasn’t quite as flawless, but was equally impressive. Nelly had six birdies, three bogeys and an eagle-2 at the par-4 16th.
“I had a pitching wedge in and I just hit it really good. Never left the flag,” she said. “One-hopped and I guess it rolled in. Didn’t even see it because that green is a bit undulated. So thankfully the group in front of us started clapping so that was cool. I was like, Oh, cool.”
Nelly Korda and Austin Ernst, like Jessica Korda, already have victories on their resumes this year. Nelly won the week after Big Sis at the Gainbridge LPGA. Ernst won LPGA Drive On Championship.