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Nelly Korda holds early lead at 2024 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship

Nelly Korda holds early lead at 2024 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship

SAMMAMISH, Wash. – Lexi Thompson isn’t done yet. Not yet a month removed from announcing her plans to step away from a full-time schedule after this season, Thompson finds herself holding the first-round lead at a major championship for only the third time in her career.

Thompson birdied the first three holes in Thursday’s opening round of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship en route to a 4-under 68 at the stunning and shockingly narrow Sahalee Country Club. She’s one shot ahead of World No. 1 Nelly Korda and Patty Tavatanakit on a star-studded leaderboard. Ten players are two shots back.

“Just tried to stay in the moment out there and really visualize my shots and pick small targets and just commit to it,” said Thompson, who hasn’t won on tour since 2019 but came up just short in a playoff last week at the Meijer LPGA Classic.

It was the first week Thompson had veteran caddie Mark Wallington on the bag and she was noticeably upbeat. Thompson said the pair have had a great friendship on tour for years but had never worked together.

“We always have a good laugh with each other and really look for each other in a friendship when needed,” she said.

“So I was like, you know what? This sounds great. Let’s just work together and see how it does. No matter what, we’ll always have that friendship and bond. That will never leave us.”

Wallington’s positive vibe, she continued, is exactly what she’s needed.

It also helps that something clicked with her swing early last week at the Meijer that has enabled her to be “free-swinging Lexi.”

“My swing has always been a bit fast,” she said. “A good solid tempo throughout the whole swing. Just seeing that draw out there, especially off the tee boxes. That’s always what I’ve done ever since I was little.”

Lexi Thompson of the United States talks with her caddie before hitting a tee shot on the ninth hole during the first round of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Sahalee Country Club on June 20, 2024, in Sammamish, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

For Korda, the pressures of a major championship melted away on the first tee when she looked over and saw her nephew, Greyson DelPrete, outside the ropes. Korda’s big sister Jessica arrived on Wednesday with her four-month-old son, but Nelly wasn’t sure exactly when they’d join her on the course at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.

“His giggles just give me so much happiness,” said Korda, who…


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