A healthy and happy Nelly Korda is having the best golf season of her career and has won three straight LPGA events.
A healthy and happy Nelly Korda is having the best golf season of her career and has won three straight LPGA events.

Here comes a good Is Nelly Korda. The World No. 1 won her third straight LPGA title with a strong 65-stroke round on Sunday, finishing 20 strokes under par to win the Ford Championship. There was a seven-week break between her wins at the LPGA Drive On Championship in January and the Fir Hills Seri Pak Championship last week.

It's March 31, 2024, in Phoenix, Arizona. Nelly Korda of the United States reacts to her birdie putt on the 18th green during the final round of the Ford Championship presented by KCC at Seville Golf and Country Club.
It’s March 31, 2024, in Phoenix, Arizona. Nelly Korda of the United States reacts to her birdie putt on the 18th green during the final round of the Ford Championship presented by KCC at Seville Golf and Country Club.

With her 11th career win, Korda joins a group of LPGA greats who have won all of their games. She is the first American since Nancy Lopez in 1978 to win three straight events. She is 25 years old. From 1980 to now, she is the only American to have won three events before April. This is Korda’s first fully healthy season since 2021, but she has only made four starts so far this year.

“To get three in a row, that’s just a dream come true,” she said.

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Korda had been hurt in three of her previous four LPGA seasons, which is almost half of her career. She pulled out of the 2020 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship because she hurt her back and didn’t play for two months. Her surgery to remove a blood clot in 2022 took six months to fully heal. A lower back problem kept Korda out for a month in May of last year.

But when Korda was healthy in 2021, she was in charge. She won four times that year, including the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and the gold medal at the Olympics.

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Korda said that she was healthy in both 2021 and 2024, but that she is healthier now than she was three years ago because her body is stronger and her mind is more clear. During her seven-week break, Korda talked about how she put more effort into her exercise this year than in the past and built her body stronger. Korda also thinks she brings a more grown-up attitude to the game.

“Some of the decisions that maybe Jay (McDede, her caddie) and I would make on the golf course being a little riskier we don’t try to do in contention,” she said.

At Gilbert, Arizona’s Seville Golf and Country Club, that smarts paid off in the end. Sunday began with Korda two shots behind the leaders and a crowded leaderboard. He teed off three groups ahead of the leaders. There were 15 golfers within two shots of first place at the start of the final round. With her fourth birdie of the day on the 13th, Korda took the lead for good at 18 under. At No. 15, she was tied with Lexi Thompson and Hira Naveed, a rookie, after both of them made a birdie to catch Korda.

The three-way tie made it possible for Korda to do what she calls “Nelly things” at the end, which means she would be all over the place but still win. On the other hand, her opponents stumbled, while Korda slowly closed. On the par-4, 300-yard 16th hole, she chose to lay up with a 7-wood. In the beginning of the week, she hit the car and found water.

Korda had 108 yards to go when he got to the middle of the fairway. He almost made a hole in one with a controlled pitching wedge into the wind. She made a birdie on the hole to take back the lead, which she would never give up.

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Thompson was looking for her first LPGA win since the 2019 Shoprite LPGA Classic. On the 16th hole, she hit her tee shot into the water and finished with a bogey. She missed a third-shot for par on the 17th, which put her two shots behind. The 11-time LPGA winner tied for third place with five other players. It was her best finish since coming in second place at the Pelican Women’s Championship in 2022, where she lost to Korda.

“A lot of positives to take from this week, especially going into a major,” he said. “But I have two weeks and I know what I need to work on.”

Even though Naveed got close to the green in two shots, he couldn’t make birdie on the par-5 18th. She made the cut on the first round, but ended up with a 66 in the last round to finish second in her second LPGA start.

Naveed said of Korda, “She’s a great player.” “To share the stage with her is really an honour.”
Korda made a birdie on the 18th to get ahead. He watched from the clubhouse with a cup of soup to warm up on the cold, wet day.

For a healthy Korda, winning the title is another step towards a big year at work.
“It’s easy to compare for sure, but I think that the golf that I’m playing right now, hopefully it leads me to the year that I had in 2021 or better,” said Korda.

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