Nelly Korda – photo PGA of America Montana Pritchard
Nelly Korda has been one of the most dominant players on the LPGA Tour over the past three years but despite winning five LPGA Tour titles and reaching 3rd in the Rolex World Rankings she had failed to secure a major title – until today that is.
The 22-year-old Korda won the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship outside of Atlanta by three shots over her fellow American, Lizette Salas, and in doing so not only claims that first major, she has also reached the number one standing in women’s golf, becoming the first American to do so since Stacy Lewis in 2014.
The victory comes on top of her win at the Meijer Classic last week and two weeks after missing the cut at the US Women’s Open.
Korda and Salas had the event to themselves for much of the final 36 holes, the third placed golfers, Hyo Joo Kim and Giulia Molinaro finishing six shots behind the second placed Salas.
Korda earned a massive US$675,000 for her win and takes her earnings for the year to date to nearly US$1.8 million.
“It’s been amazing, honestly,” said Korda. “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. But I just can’t believe it. I’m still in shock.
Korda talked of her mindset that has been so important to her and that the burden of becoming America’s first number one in so long was not an issue today.
“I didn’t really think about it too much. I mean, when you have a good team around you, they try to implement a mindset of just go out and play golf, have fun. I’ve told my caddie Jason from day one, I was like, I’m the type of player that likes to take it shot by shot.
“Sometimes you get away from it, and he actually told me today, he’s like, you’re thinking 40 minutes ahead. He’s like, you told me when you hired me we’re taking it shot by shot. It’s very simple and people are like, oh, that’s boring, but it’s really important when you’re out there.”
Korda’s sister Jessica has also been a highly successful professional, both players former Australian Women’s Open champions and today, in a nice moment, Nelly talked of the importance of having Jessica in her life.
“She has a heart of gold. She’s the most selfless person out there. I mean, she’s five years older, so she has showed me the ropes of the LPGA, the ropes of professional golf, and I’ve been super lucky to have been showed that because a lot of people don’t get that opportunity.
“If I’m struggling, she’s right there for me. I can’t thank her enough for everything she has done and for how selfless of a person she is.”
Rookie professional Gabi Ruffels led the Australasians when she finished 33rd, Minjee Lee 40th, Lydia Ko 52nd and Su Oh 63rd.