Nelly Korda’s shocking fall on the second day dropped her from contending at Sahalee Country Club to leaving before the weekend at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. A second-round score of nine-over-par 81 matched the worst score of Korda’s career and pushed the world No.1 down the leaderboard, from a stroke off the lead to six over and missing the cut for a third straight start.

“It’s just golf recently for me,” Korda said. “No words for how I’m playing right now. A lot went my way at the beginning part of the year and just giving it back.”

A six-time winner this season, Korda’s second round of 80 or worse at a major in 2024 was a much slower burn than Day 1 at the US Women’s Open. At that major, her 10 on the par-3 12th at Lancaster Country Club had her fighting uphill just three holes into the championship.

But at Sahalee, near Seattle, Washington, she had four straight bogeys and missed two par putts inside five feet on the second and fourth during her 81. She topped her second shot from the rough on the par-5 sixth, the easiest hole on the course Friday, for another bogey.

Her 15-foot par putt on the ninth sat just on the lip and turned in a 42 on the opening side by only hitting three greens in regulation.

Korda’s bogeys on the 11th and the 14th put her on the cutline at five over with four holes to play. A tough break on the par-4 15th hole made making the cut a nearly impossible task. Korda hit her hybrid out of the left rough from 164 metres no more than a foot into the OB, with the American hopping on a cart after a rules official confirmed she was out of play. The 25-year-old dropped and hit a 5-iron short of the green. Korda got up and down to save a double bogey and give herself a glimpse of hope.

She reached the greenside bunker in two on the par-5 18th, and her last hurrah to make the cut nestled 13 inches left of the cup. A tap-in birdie gave Korda the consolation prize of extending her consecutive rounds with a birdie to 188, dating back to the 2021 US Women’s Open.

Following Korda’s Chevron Championship victory, she has missed the weekend at the LPGA’s last two majors. In a season defined by her historic five consecutive victories, done only twice in LPGA history before Korda, she is now making the wrong kind of career history.

This is the first time Korda has ever missed three consecutive cuts. She followed up the short stay in the US Women’s Open with a 76-67 to miss the weekend by one in the Meijer LPGA Classic. Korda’s 81 matched her previous two worst rounds of her career.

Her most recent came in the 2014 Kraft Nabisco Championship; the other was when she was 13 years old in her US Women’s debut in 2013.

At Sahalee on Friday, Korda fell off the lead pace now set by Sarah Schmelzel and Amy Yang at six under par. Schemelzel’s five-under 67 matched the low round of the day.

The six-year tour veteran Schmelzel is looking for her first career victory on the LPGA and showed form earlier this season with four straight top-10s from February to March. She is tied with one of the tour’s most accomplished players without a major title in Yang.

The 34-year-old South Korean, Yang, who earned her fifth LPGA title in last season’s CME Group Tour Championship, has 21 top-10s in majors. The pair are two strokes ahead of three LPGA winners in two-time major champion Jin Young Ko, 2019 AIG Women’s Open winner Hinako Shibuno, and a resurgent “free-swinging” Lexi Thompson, who lost in a playoff at last week’s Meijer LPGA Classic.

The American and Japanese Olympic races also crystalised with the cutline. The US still has a chance to send four players to Paris, but all four must remain in the top 15 in the Rolex World Rankings.

Megan Khang was on the precipice of qualifying at 16th in the rankings, but carded an opening 81 before finishing the week at 13 over par. Alison Lee, 18th in the world, went 81-78 to badly miss the weekend as well.

The door is open for Allisen Corpuz, at 23rd in the world, to grab the fourth spot. The 2023 US Women’s Open champion is one over through 36 holes and T23, needing a solid weekend to move into the top 15 in the world.

That, of course, may not be enough if Thompson wins her second major title. The 29-year-old is 39th in the world and could follow what Yuka Saso did at the US Women’s Open. After the Japanese woman won at Lancaster, she surged from 30th to eighth place.

Japan’s down to two players vying for its second spot. Coming into the week, Ayaka Furue (No. 20) just held onto the nation’s second Olympic position ahead of Nasa Hataoka (No. 21) and Miyu Yamashita (22nd). Hataoka fell out of the race by missing the cut at seven over.

Yamashita, who predominantly plays on the Japan LPGA Tour, holds the inside position at T6 and three behind the lead. Furue is just a little behind at T23 (one over). Shibuno, at 62nd in the world, could swoop in for the second spot with her second career major title.