Nelly Korda wins first Women’s PGA title with world No. 1 ranking
First came the tears when Nelly Korda hugged her older sister and didn’t have any desire to give up. That was trailed by the spray of champagne on the 18th green to celebrate a day that will be difficult for her to top even at age 22.
With one round, she became a major champion for the first time and arrived at No. 1 on the planet.
“Is this week even real?” Korda said. “It’s amazing.”
Actually like her performance Sunday in the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.
Korda controlled her way to a pair of eagles that wore out Lizette Salas at Atlanta Athletic Club and put an American on the world ranking for the first time for a very long time.
Korda almost holed out with a 7-wood from 243 yards for a tap-in eagle. She held onto control by utilizing her length from that graceful swing, leaving her a 6-iron into the standard 5 twelfth opening that barely cleared the water and set up a 8-foot eagle putt.
The last stroke was a 15-foot par putt for a 4-under 68 and a three-shot victory over Salas.
“The past few days, the battle with Lizette, it’s been a lot of fun. It’s been stressful. I think it’s had everything,” Korda said. “But I just can’t believe it. I’m still in shock.”
At 19-under 269, she tied the Women’s PGA record to par last matched by Inbee Park at Westchester Country Club in 2015.
Korda won for the second straight week – her third LPGA title this year – and it was sufficient to turn into the first American at No. 1 in the women’s world ranking since Stacy Lewis in 2014.
Jin Young Ko had held the No. 1 spot for almost two years.
Her possibly botch came when it didn’t make any difference.
Korda held onto control with a 6-iron she got heavy enough to worry it probably won’t clear pond on the par-5 12th and was relieved when it carried out to 8 feet for eagle. That transformed into a three-shot swing when Salas – who went through the end of the weekend hitting hybrids and halves on openings that Korda had short irons – hit wedge over the green into a bunker and made bogey.
“That was my favorite wedge, too,” Salas said. “The good thing is I was committed to that shot. This wind is pretty swirly. Maybe a little drop-kick, I don’t know. Got a few extra yards out of it.”
Korda made a 18-foot birdie putt on No. 14 to stretch her lead to five shots with four openings to play, just to end 49 consecutive openings without an bogey by hitting into the water on the standard 3 fifteenth for a double bogey.
Yet, she steadied herself with a couple of standards and played it moderately down the standard 5 shutting opening over water.
Korda’s older sister, Jessica, was among quick to accept her on the 18th green as the feelings arose.
Jessica completed a whole lot sooner – they shared an embrace as Nelly was starting and Jessica was making the turn – however the older sibling had another motivation to celebrate. She handily held down the fourth American spot for the Olympics in Japan.
It was a big celebration for one of the top sporting families in the world. The Korda sisters each have six LPGA triumphs. Their younger brother, Sebastian, is at Wimbledon this week as the 50th-ranked player in men’s tennis and gets an opportunity to go along with them in Tokyo for the Olympics.
Their dad is Petr Korda, who won the Australian Open in tennis in 1998.
“You don’t realize it until someone really talks about it because we’re always so in the zone,” Korda said of the family success. “We’re always just striving to achieve more, and for our family just to back each other through every situation … it’s so surreal.”
Salas, who felt a weight lifted for the current week when she opened up about emotional struggles uncovered during the COVID-19 pandemic, shut with a 71 and made Korda work for it.
They began the last round tied for the lead, five clear of any other individual, and it was available to all until the pivotal 12th hole.
Korda started to lead the pack for great with a birdie on the third opening. Even after he falcon on the fifth, Salas ricocheted back with a tee shot on the reachable standard 4 6th that set up birdie to close the hole to a single shot.
Be that as it may, everything turned so rapidly. Salas had a 15-foot birdie putt on the tenth to tie for the lead. Two openings later, she was four shots behind against a not about player to allow Salas to move in the game.
“She played great, and there’s nothing I could have done differently to change her game plan, and that says a lot about her,” Salas said. “I’m just lucky she’s on the American side for that Solheim Cup.”
Korda is the first American to win a significant since Angela Stanford three years prior in the Evian, and it’s anything but a major year for U.S. ladies’ golf. Americans have won multiple times on the LPGA Tour this season. South Korea and Thailand are next with two each.