The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship received a tough blow early Friday when Nelly Korda withdrew prior to the second round, stating that her back did not feel right. Korda, No. 2 in the world and the top-ranked player in the KPMG field (No. 1 Jin Ko Young remains in Korea, and has not played on the LPGA since November), shot an opening 71 on Thursday, only four shots off the lead.
“Unfortunately, I am forced to withdraw from the KPMG Championship after my first round due to discomfort in my back,” the 22-year-old Korda wrote in an Instagram post.
“Was hoping it would be better this morning but unfortunately it is not and I will now go see a specialist. I hope to return to competition soon and wish all the competitors good luck this week.”
Two days earlier, Korda, whose length was expected to be a significant asset this week at Aronimink, did not hide her excitement for the course. “It’s awesome to just be out here, the history behind this whole course, and it's a super nice track. It's definitely going to be very challenging around the greens, but I'm very excited to play this week.”
Korda entered the KPMG Women’s PGA on the heels of three consecutive top five finishes: She tied for third at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship, tied for second at the ANA Inspiration, and was fifth last week at the ShopRite LPGA Classic. She has finished in the top 10 in five of nine starts in 2020. Lydia Ko and Charley Hull, who played alongside Korda on Thursday, could tell that something wasn’t quite right when the three completed the round.
“I’m not entirely sure if it was something that had been lingering prior,” Ko said. “But with the temperature dropping and you getting stiffer, it does make it tough out there. She did mention after the round that her back was bothering her. It's never good. You joke around, hey, you try and take out your opponent, but this is not the case. I always enjoy Nelly's company ... hopefully she’ll be able to get some good treatment and she’ll be out here playing amazing as she normally does.”