Aditi Ashok consolidates her perch with a 66, Nelly Korda takes control

The second round of women's golf produced a dense collection of contender for Olympic honours. Aditi Ashok is tied in second with two others as Korda leads by four at the halfway stage

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Aditi Ashok - Olympics - Getty Images

05 August 2021: The Olympics has always stoked Aditi Ashok into finding an invisible gear. Not even her ability to win on the Ladies European Tour or summon the golf needed to practice her sport on the highest stages of the LPGA come close to her uncanny golf in the Olympics. The 23-year-old enthralled the world even as a teenager when she began her campaign in Rio 2016 with a pair of 68s. At Kasumigaseki Country Club, Aditi has once again switched into her Olympic gear with aplomb. The Indian followed her first round 67 with a 66 on Thursday to remain firmly in the chase for metal, behind the leader Nelly Korda.

The American has been on a blistering run. She kept the heat on her opponents with a blinding 62 in the second round to take firm control of the leaderboard. The Women’s PGA Championship winner seems to be following the same script she used in June at the Atlanta Athletic Club to secure her maiden major. She shot 63 in her second round there, before clinching a three shot victory two days later.

In the second round in Tokyo she made a sedate start, making four pars before launching into a blistering attack. Korda made four birdies and an eagle on the sixth as she turned in 30 strokes. She added five more birdies on the home stretch. And in a bizarre finish to a dominant round, even a double bogey at the 18th could not prevent her from posting a nine-under 62, moving to 13-under 129 through 36 holes.

Nelly Korda gained 1.637 strokes off the tee, 4.815 putting and a whopping 7.67 strokes overall in an influential round.

Aditi has been fluent so far. She has suffered a lone blemish in the two rounds, with a bogey on the 18th to end her first round. She was spotless on Thursday, collecting three birdies on either side to post an impressive 66. The 23-year-old is gaining 3.394 strokes putting around the greens.

Diksha Dagar continued her struggle. She ended the second day at 6-over after battling to a 1-over 72, a much improved performance relative to her nervy first round effort.

Dane Nanna Koerstz Madsen (64) and Emily Kristine Pedersen (63) are tied in second with Aditi at 9-under. Overnight leader Madelene Sagstrom shot 68, lying in third a shot back from the three women.

Mone Inami and Jin Young Ko shot 65 and 67 to reach the halfway stage at 7-under.