Nelly Korda, the world number one, raced off into the distance in the women's individual strokeplay at the Olympics at Kasumigaseki Country Club as the American - despite a double-bogey finish in her pursuit of a 59 - fired a second round 62 for a midway total of 13-under-par 129 to claim a four stroke midway lead over her closest pursuers.
And while Korda set herself apart, it also proved to be a rewarding second round for both Irish players as Stephanie Meadow - with a 66 - and Leona Maguire - with a 67 - made upward moves on the leaderboard, each finishing on four-under-par 138 in tied-11th position.
On another extremely hot weather day, with players using umbrellas as protection from the sun, Meadow's move was fuelled by a late round charge, which yielded four birdies in her last five holes - on the 14th, 15th, 16th and 18th - as she moved to within five strokes of those occupying tied-second (Danes Nanna Koerstz Madsen and Emily Kristine Pedersen and India's Aditi Ashok).
Meadow’s round featured six birdies and a lone bogey, on the 10th, as she added a 66 to her opening 72 to move from 36th to tied-11th while Maguire added a 67 to her first round 70 to also join her on that mark.
Maguire, ranked 50th in the world, made her big move on the front nine with a hat-trick of birdies from the sixth to the eighth holes.
Korda had a sub-60 round in her sights as she teed off on the 18th - in a round which saw her flawless through 17 holes, in a run which saw her claim an eagle two on the sixth along with nine birdies - only to falter on that closing hole in running up a double-bogey six for a 62 which nevertheless put her in control, four strokes clear of the three players in tied-second.
That double came after a poor drive into trees which was compounded with pitching back out into a bunker that ended any dream of posting a 59, although Korda later admitted that target wasn’t even in her mind. “I wasn’t thinking about it at all,” she claimed.
Korda’s run of birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie-birdie from the fifth saw her turn in 30 strokes while it was her putter that kept the run going with further birdies on the 12th, 13th, 14th, 16th and 17th before her lapse on the last.
Of taking a four stroke lead into the third round, with the possibility that the tournament could yet be reduced to 54 holes due to a forecast weather warning, Korda said: “Every day’s a clean slate, you don’t know what’s going to happen.
“You don’t know what you’re going to shoot and the best you can do is go in with a good attitude and try your best . . . I’m going to have the mindset that it’s going to be a 72 hole golf course and whatever happens, happens.”