Can Korda equal LPGA Tour record with her second major triumph?

Nancy Lopez in 1978. Annika Sorenstam in 2005. If Nelly Korda triumphs this week’s Chevron Championship, she will join an elite group of players to have won a record five consecutive LPGA Tour starts.

By coincidence, both World Golf Hall of Fame inductees completed the feat with a major championship success. Lopez set a new mark for wins on consecutive starts in the LPGA Championship – now titled the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship – and Sorenstam equalled it in the upcoming event under its previous guise of the Kraft Nabisco Championship at Mission Hills.

It would therefore be apt for Korda to match the record in the first women’s major of the year, these days played at The Woodlands in Texas rather than its prior California home, and the 25-year-old hopes her eye-catching winning streak is serving to inspire in the same manner as her forerunners.

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Highlights of Nelly Korda’s victory in the final at the LPGA Match Play at Shadow Creek.

“I just love competing,” Korda said. “I love golf, I hopefully am inspiring the next generation.

“But there is no greater thrill for me than competing and being out here and seeing the girls and going head-to-head for a title.

“There is no greater feeling, and I have to say I just love the sport so much and I just love competing.”

Even a change of format from stroke play and an unfamiliar course could not derail Korda’s run as she made it four in a row at the T-Mobile Match Play around Shadow Creek in Las Vegas just under two weeks ago, beating Angel Yin 3&2, Na Rin An 4&3, and Leona Maguire 4&3 in the knockout stage to lift the title.

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Highlights as Nelly Korda triumphed in the final round of the Ford Championship at Seville Golf and Country Club in Arizona.

Maguire, who will likely be facing Korda as Europe defend their Solheim Cup crown against the USA at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Virginia in September, does not believe there is anyone in better form than the current world No 1.

“Obviously Nelly is the best player in the world right now, probably male or female,” Maguire said. “She is playing unbelievable golf, and I knew I was going to have to bring my A-plus game if I was going to have a chance.

“I just didn’t putt well enough and hats off to Nelly, she really didn’t give me much of a chance. It’s very impressive what she’s doing.

“Ultimately you know you’re going to have to make birdies if you want to beat her.

Obviously Nelly is the best player in the world right now, probably male or female.

Beaten T-Mobile Match Play finalist Leona Maguire

“She is an incredible player, and she is playing some great golf right now.”

The Match Play victory was Korda’s 12th LPGA tournament win as a professional, but she has only tasted glory in a major championship on one occasion so far in her career and that success came three years ago at the Women’s PGA Championship.

Her overall record in the five biggest events in the women’s professional calendar has seen her score nine top-10 finishes from 37 starts and last year particularly brought mixed fortunes, including missing the cut at the Women’s PGA Championship and only finishing tied for 64th at the US Women’s Open.

Korda’s past three appearances at the Chevron Championship have yielded top-three finishes though, albeit missing the 2022 edition due to a blood clot in her arm, and she finished just one shot off joining eventual champion Lydia Vu and Angel Yin in a playoff for the title last year.

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Highlights of Nelly Korda’s win at the Fir Hills Seri Pak Championship at Palos Verdes Golf Club.

She had struggled with back problems in 2023 as well, yet now seems to be back to full fitness and has already equalled her season-best performance of claiming four LPGA Tour titles in 2021, perhaps in no small part to a new fitness regime she began earlier this year following her victory in the LPGA Drive On Championship.

“That was just an aspect that I really wanted to work on in that seven-week break and it’s been paying off quite well,” Korda said.

“It’s still the beginning the season – we haven’t even hit the first major of the year. My goal into this year was to be happy and healthy.

“I don’t want to train like a golfer, I want to train like an athlete. Thankfully my team and I, we all have the same outlook on it.”

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Nelly Korda scored her first LPGA Tour hole-in-one at CME Group Tour Championship last year, the second ace of her career.

Korda goes into the Chevron Championship as the overwhelming favourite, underlined by the bookmakers giving second-favourite Jin Young Ko a less than four per cent implied probability of being the one to take the champion’s celebratory jump into the pond at The Woodlands.

That consistency on the course in the early part of the 2024 season has been aided by having consistency in her life off it as well, and her approach to maintaining that level of excellence with not change as she seeks a second major title.

“Going out and giving 100 per cent every single day and being consistent, being true to yourself,” Korda said.

“Thankfully I have a lot of consistency in my life. I see the same people every single day. I do the same stuff every single day.

“I try to stay in my own little bubble, and I feel like mentally that’s the best thing that you can do for your mental health, is stay in a routine.”

Watch every men’s and women’s major live on Sky Sports Golf in 2024 or stream with NOW.

The first women’s major of the year, The Chevron Championship, is live from 3pm this Thursday, with the next men’s major, the PGA Championship at Valhalla in Kentucky, taking place from May 16-19.

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Source : Sky Sports