Nelly Korda captures Ford Championship for third straight win

Sarah Kellam / LPGA

GILBERT, AZ — Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings No. 1 Nelly Korda looked unstoppable on Sunday at the Ford Championship presented by KCC. After picking up her 10th career LPGA Tour title last week at the FIR HILLS SERI PAK Championship in a playoff over Ryann O’Toole, Korda ran it back this week at Seville Golf and Country Club, firing a bogey-free, 7-under 65 to earn her third straight victory on the LPGA Tour, winning by two shots over rookie Hira Naveed on a dreary day in the desert.

“I think it was definitely one of my least stressful wins today. I played really solid golf,” said Korda, whose 65 is her lowest final-round score since she carded a 64 on Sunday at the 2021 Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions. “I didn’t make too many mistakes, and if I did, I just had a straightforward chip. Overall, I capitalized on the majority of my really good shots out there today and made some good putts as well. I’m very, very pleased with how I played today in the tough conditions.”

FINAL LEADERBOARD

With the victory, the 25-year-old Florida native becomes the first player since Ariya Jutanugarn in 2016 to win in three consecutive starts on the LPGA Tour and is the first American to do so since Nancy Lopez won five straight events in 1978. Korda is the first player to take home three LPGA Tour titles before April 1 since Yani Tseng last did so in 2012 and is the first American to accomplish that feat since JoAnne Carner in 1980.

She also becomes the 37th different American with 11 or more victories on the LPGA Tour and is the first player since Lorena Ochoa in 2008 to win three times in her first four starts of the season. And while she is a player who never really looks forward or back when it comes to her success in professional golf, Korda couldn’t help but smile after this latest triumph as a decision she made following her victory at the LPGA Drive On Championship in late January has handsomely paid off.

“I’m just really enjoying myself out there,” Korda said. “I love golf. I’ve always loved golf. Sometimes, it’s harder than other days. Last year was definitely one of the harder years. I never really got any momentum going with injuries and such. The past two years in all honesty.

“I would say the reset that I had after Bradenton really, really helped me. I really enjoyed my time off. Spent a lot of time with my family. Went back to Prague. I enjoyed life outside of golf a little. Just disconnected. To me, that was the perfect reset going into this busy schedule.”

If you’ve followed Korda over the years, you can’t help but feel like the dominance she has shown so far this season is similar to how she played in 2021, a year that saw her take home four LPGA Tour titles, including her first major championship at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club, and the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics. But Korda wouldn’t necessarily agree with you.

“I feel like every year I’m constantly working on my body, so my body feels a little different,” explained Korda. “I would say the year of 2021, I definitely wasn’t as strong as I am this year. Really prioritized (my fitness in the seven-week break.) It’s easy to compare for sure, but I think that the golf that I’m playing right now, I mean, hopefully, it leads me to the year that I had in 2021 or better. But, not really focusing too much on that, on the results.

“I’ve definitely grown and matured a lot as well. Some of the decisions that maybe (Jason McDede, her caddie) and I would make on the golf course being a little riskier we don’t try to do in contention. The life that I get to live out here, travel, play in front of fans, inspire the next generation, I appreciate that more.”

Korda is slated to tee it up in next week’s T-Mobile Match Play presented by MGM Rewards at Shadow Creek and will be celebrating her victory tonight with a solo five-hour drive to Las Vegas and an almond croissant she picked up at a local coffee shop this morning. And while she’s already turning her attention to the LPGA Tour’s annual stop in Sin City, the year’s first major, The Chevron Championship, is also looming large, and considering the form that she’s currently in, the Rolex Rankings No. 1 has to be at the top of the list of favorites to win this year at the Club at Carlton Woods.

But Korda isn’t too worried just yet about contending for her second career major title. Instead, she’s going to continue to stay in the present moment, a mindset that clearly has served her well in recent weeks and one that Korda knows will help her to more success in the coming months on the LPGA Tour.

“I have been a professional golfer since 2016, and when you get ahead of yourself, it’s never going to be positive,” Korda said. “I’m going to take it one tournament at a time. Stay very present. It’s worked pretty well so far. Sometimes it’s much harder than others. Your self-expectations, the expectations around you, too. I’m going to try and stay in my own little bubble and see how it goes.”

CANADIAN NOTES: Brooke Henderson finished at 13-under , good for a share of 26th spot. Alena Sharp was two strokes back at T45 and Maude-Aimee Leblanc was T75.

Fairways Magazine

2 thoughts on “Nelly Korda captures Ford Championship for third straight win

    1. It’s not like the Masters needs anything to spice up the entertainment value but that would be fun. Alternatively, Augusta should host an LPGA event. They already have events for the juniors and the best women amateurs.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *