Golf: Jessica Korda sets clubhouse pace at US Women's Open

 Korda hits a shot from the sand on the ninth hole during the second round.
Korda hits a shot from the sand on the ninth hole during the second round.PHOTO: AFP

CHARLESTON, South Carolina (REUTERS) - Jessica Korda took the clubhouse lead in the second round at the US Women's Open on Friday (May 31) but believes she will need an element of luck to win a major championship.

Korda, a five-times LPGA Tour winner, bided her time and picked off three birdies, two of them at par-fives, for a three-under-par 68 at Country Club of Charleston.

The American posted a five-under 137 halfway total, one stroke better than amateur Gina Kim, who followed up an outstanding first round with a respectable 72 that kept her in the mix.

First-round leader Mamiko Higa of Japan had a late tee time after setting the early pace with an opening 65.

Korda, who along with sister Nelly makes up the best sister duo in women's golf, stuck with a disciplined game plan.

Her only bogey of the week came at the 12th hole on Thursday when she got too aggressive with a short approach shot and flew her ball into trouble beyond the green.

"I played pretty conservatively," she said. "I was trying to be more aggressive on the par fives, where I could take advantage."

As for her goal of becoming a major champion, she said: "That's what you play for. At the same time, I feel a lot of luck is always a big part of winning a major championship, making the most putts and the least amount of mistakes.

"Solid golf will always put me up top. If I have a chance, I'll try to take it."

Nelly, meanwhile, had a late tee time, which meant another 36-hole walk for their parents Petr, a former world number two tennis player, and Regina.

Amateur Kim started on a downbeat note with a three-putt at the first hole, but displayed maturity beyond her 19 years, refusing to let it ruffle her feathers.

"I didn't really take it too hard. I just kind of got a little disappointed for three seconds and then just moved on to the next hole," Kim said.

Perhaps it was tiredness that contributed to her start, because she had trouble sleeping on Thursday after finishing her round after 8 p.m. and then having to deal with the excitement of only being one stroke from the lead.

"As much as I was tired, you know, this is definitely a new experience for me, so I actually had a hard time falling asleep," she said.

"Normally, I'm a great sleeper, but last night was not it."

Kim's parents are Spanish professors at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, but she attends arch-rival cross-town rival Duke University in Durham.

It has been a busy stint for Kim, who last week was part of the Duke team that won the American collegiate (NCAA) women's golf championship.