Nelly Korda reflected on ‘a little punch of reality’ after a round of 73 which saw the world no.1 lose her shared grip on the leadership of the AIG Women’s Open.
No-one scored lower than the 23-year-old’s 67 on day one but by the time she teed off at lunchtime, Georgia Hall and Mina Harigae had set the pace and entered the clubhouse on -7 in a rapidly condensing leaderboard.
Korda set out looking to reel in the leaders but couldn’t apply the pressure she had hoped for, dropping shots at the ninth and 11th as her putter lacked the heat of Thursday.
She clawed back two birdies either side of a third bogey and will enter the weekend three shots off the pace – still very much in contention but with plenty of traffic now between her and the leading duo.
“I wasn't putting well,” she said. “The putts weren't dropping.
“Everyone keeps talking about how I'm playing so well, but I'm going to shoot bad scores. I'm human.
“So just a little punch of reality that I'm human, and I'm going to continue working these next two days and see how it goes.”
Though not at her dazzling best, the Olympic champion still showed glimpses of her star quality – most notably with a vital birdie on the penultimate hole, repeating the feat she pulled off on the opening day.
“17 is a really difficult hole,” she said. “Today I had 5-iron off the tee and 5-iron in. So it's a long hole and it's crazy to think I'm 2-under so far on that hole. But that's just golf. It's funny.
“It's definitely a good momentum boost that I could still know I could make some putts. That was nice.
“It's definitely important to keep yourself in it when you don't have your A-game but I’ve still got a lot of work ahead of myself.”
Among those to leapfrog the world no.1 was Moriya Jutanugarn, who matched Korda’s day one score of 67 to move to -5 for the week.
“I just hit a lot of greens today,” said the 27-year-old, whose sister Ariya sits three shots further back.
“Even on a nice day like today, you just always have to stay on top and be alert all the time and also just be patient out there.
“You just have to be really good attitude out there and keep moving on, like if you hit one bad shot, just keep move on and hit another shot.”
Joining Korda on -4, meanwhile, was Minjee Lee, who kept her dreams of a second consecutive major alive with a her three-under round of 69.
A birdie at the last provided a fitting end to a fine day’s work and the Evian Championship winner believes the elements will play a key role over the weekend.
“If we get no wind, I think it's very scorable,” she said. “Obviously it's a tough test, but it's very fair.
“If you hit good shots, you're going to get rewarded. I think it all depends on the weather.”