Korda relishing expectation ahead of US Women's Open

rugby28 May 2024 19:30| © AFP

World No 1 Nelly Korda is shrugging off the burden of expectation as she attempts to claim an incredible seventh win of the season – and third major of her career – at this week's US Women's Open.

The 25-year-old will start as the red-hot favourite when play gets under way at Lancaster Country Club in Pennsylvania on Thursday after bagging her sixth win of 2024 at the Mizuho Americas Open at Liberty National earlier this month.

Korda already has one major victory this season after claiming The Chevron Championship in April, and few would bet against her adding another in Lancaster this week where she is chasing a seventh title from her last eight starts.

That winning run has seen Korda mentioned in the same breath as the likes of Tiger Woods – comparisons that the world No 1 is taking in her stride.

"I think, obviously, with the position I'm in, there are going to be expectations," Korda said on Tuesday. "I do not want to lose who I am.

"I'm going to always stay true to who I am, because at the end of the day, when I go to sleep, I need to be proud of who I am."

Korda also has little difficulty in putting her blistering start to the season in perspective, insisting that while she remains ferociously competitive, sometimes things may not go her way.

"Obviously I go into every week wanting to win, but there is a sense that sometimes that's not realistic," she said.


"For me, I need to give 100 per cent of myself every single day to, not just my golf, my family, my workouts, life outside of golf. For me, that's the No 1 thing for me."

Korda meanwhile is laser-focused on the challenges presented by the demanding 6 546-yard, par-70 layout at Lancaster, where there is very little margin for error from tee to green.

"This golf course is a beast," Korda said. "Off the tee, if you don't hit it into the fairways, it sinks down into the rough. These greens are small and very, very undulated.

"It just tests every aspect of your game. It's tight off the tee. There's bunkers that visually you see that you think you're going to carry that you end up maybe ten yards short of.

"If you're in the rough and you miss the fairways, the greens are very small and very slopey, and the rough is thick around the greens too ... It's just going to test every part of your game."

Ominously for the rest of the field, if any player has the game to tame Lancaster, it is Korda.

She leads the LPGA Tour in scoring average this season and is also top of the rankings for hitting greens in regulation with 76 per cent.

In her last victory at the Mizuho Americas Open, Korda said she won despite playing her "C or D" game, where despite unhappiness with her swing over the weekend, she still did enough to win.

"I think that's what makes this game so great, is just you can be on top of the world the first two days, and then you wake up and you're like, 'What am I doing right now? Why am I hitting it sideways?' And you have no idea what's going on," she said.