Nelly Korda chasing first win of '23 - and slice of LPGA history
Posted on: 07 Nov, 2023 at 08:32 PM
Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Nelly Korda is attempting to make a little history at the event named after the player who has made more history than any other female golfer.
Korda is the two-time defending champion at this week's The Annika driven by Gainbridge at Pelican in Belleair, Fla. Also seeking her first win of 2023, Korda can become the first player since Inbee Park at the 2015 KPMG Women's PGA Championship to win an LPGA Tour event three consecutive times.
Since 2001, the feat has only been accomplished four times. Two of those were by Annika Sorenstam, who won the McDonald's LPGA Championship from 2003-05 and the Mizuno Classic five consecutive times from 2001-05 as part of her 72 career LPGA Tour titles.
"If you have a legend like Annika, her name is on the title of the tournament, so having her out here, just the presence of her, is really, really neat and cool," Korda said on Tuesday. "I think it just brings a little extra to an amazing event.
"To three-peat, obviously there is pressure that I want to perform, but I try not to think about it."
The other player to three-peat this century is another living legend in Lorena Ochoa, who won the Sybase Classic from 2006-08.
Korda's talent is often mentioned in the same breath as the likes of Sorenstam, Ochoa and Park, whom Korda said is another player who should be considered to have her name on an LPGA event trophy.
At only 25 years old, Korda counts a major among her eight LPGA Tour victories, has played on three Solheim Cup teams and has elevated to No. 1 in the Rolex Women's World Rankings multiple times.
However, she arrived at Pelican Golf Club this week for the $3.25 million tournament winless on the season for a second consecutive year. In 2022, Korda missed four months to recover from a blood clot in her arm. This year, she missed more than a month due to back pain and said it has been difficult to "get back into that flow" since returning in June.
Korda is coming off a T6 in her most recent start at the Maybank Championship and has eight top 10s this season.
The Bradenton, Fla., resident is also obviously very comfortable at Pelican, which she can drive to from her house and is reminiscent of her home course at Concession. Korda owns a career scoring average of 65.571 at Pelican, where she has carded seven sub-par rounds.
"It's always nice when family and friends are out here supporting me, and being so close to home and just feeling really good at a tournament," she said. "I grew up in this weather, grew up on this grass, so I think I have a sense of comfort and I like the layout.
"At the end of the day, even if you're comfortable and you played on this type of grass or in this type of weather, you still have to make putts and play well. That's what I'm hoping for this week as well."
--Field Level Media