Nelly Korda continues dominant run with sixth victory in last seven starts

May 20, 2024

Nelly Korda continues dominant run with sixth victory in last seven starts

Nelly Korda’s 2024 campaign is forcing double takes at the calendar. Korda, 25, earned her sixth victory of the season at the Mizuho Americas Open, and it is only May. She recovered from a two-over front nine at Liberty National in Jersey City, N.J., to card a one-under 71, not having her best stuff while still finding a way to beat Hannah Green by a stroke at 14 under par.

“I feel like you never have your A-game throughout an entire tournament,” Korda said. “You kind of have to grind through it even with your B, C, and D game. I definitely felt like I had my C and D game today.”

A winner of 14 LPGA events, she has notched nearly half of them in only eight starts this season, adding to her historic accolades that put her in Hall of Fame company. Korda is only the fourth player in LPGA history to win at least six times before June, joining legends Babe Zaharias (1951), Louise Suggs (1953), and Lorena Ochoa (2008).

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This victory makes it the first time the LPGA has had a six-win campaign since Inbee Park (2013), and the first American to do so since Beth Daniel in 1990, before Korda was born. Moreover, her five straight LPGA victories, from the Drive On in January to the Chevron Championship in April, joined Nany Lopez (1978) and Annika Sorenstam (2004-’05) for the longest win streak in LPGA history.

“My gosh, six, I can’t even really gather myself right now with that,” Korda said.

Korda was paired with Green on Sunday, and the two are the only multiple-time winners on the LPGA this season. Green won the JM Eagle LA Championship and the HSBC Women’s World Championship, with Korda not in either field. The No. 1 player in the world took a seven-week break after winning her first event of the season, the Drive On, skipping playing in Southeast Asia. Following Korda’s fifth consecutive victory at the Chevron Championship, she withdrew from the Los Angeles event to recover from the mental and physical grind of contending and winning every week.

Korda started Sunday with a two-stroke lead over the Australian, which dissipated quickly. Green caught Korda, who posted two bogeys in her first five holes. Green took the outright lead on the seventh after Korda’s third bogey of the day.

The smile of a 14x LPGA Tour winner 😆 #LPGAWinnerSelfie

— LPGA (@LPGA) May 19, 2024

After Green bogeyed the par-5 eighth, the final pair mirrored each other’s scorecards over the next nine holes. They, too, made the turn with a four-way tie for the lead at 11 under with Ayaka Furue and Jennifer Kupcho, and started pulling away on the back nine.

“I knew that it was going to be a battle on the back nine,” Korda said. “I knew Hannah and I were obviously playing in the same group and we were close. Jay [McDede, Korda’s caddie] always reassures me that I need to take it a shot at a time and I need to wake up a little.”

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Green and Korda birdied the two par 5s on the inbound side, the 10th and 13th, to walk to the 14th, sharing a three-stroke lead. In how nearly identical their back and forth was Sunday, on the par-4 15th, the second-hardest hole on the course, Green put her approach from 154 yards to six feet. Korda answered with a 9-iron from 149 yards to inside four feet. They both birdied to get to 14 under and four strokes ahead of third place. Pars on the next two took them to the 72nd hole tied.

“I felt sick to my stomach coming down 18 because I knew it was a tight battle,” Korda said.

Green finally blinked on the par-4 18th when she missed her drive into the thick lefthand rough, nearly hitting the fans. A one-handed finish with an 8-iron put her short of the greenside bunker as Korda casually hit the green in two. Green left herself a 15-footer for par after the American tapped in her par putt, and with the miss gave Korda the victory.

“To lose to Nelly kind of like is, it’s sad, but then it’s also Nelly Korda,” Green said. “You know, she’s obviously so dominant right now. To feel like second behind her is quite nice.”

Korda will fly home to spend time with sister Jessica and nephew Grayson during the tour’s off week before the LPGA’s major season begins in earnest. The U.S. Women’s Open, starting on May 30, is one of three majors over the next six events. Korda debuted on the LPGA at the 2013 U.S. Women’s Open and is in peak form heading into the tournament where her professional dreams were born.

“I feel like that is out of all the events that is like the event for me,” Korda said. “Because I’m not saying I’m not downplaying any other major, I’m just saying that is where my dream kind of became reality in a sense. So obviously it’s on the top of my priority list, but I just know that there’s never any good when you put more pressure on yourself.

“So just going to stay in my bubble that week and take it a shot at a time.”