The putt was nearly identical and the final result was a familiar one: Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings No. 1 Nelly Korda coming up clutch, burying a 22-foot birdie putt for the win in a four-person playoff at the Pelican Women’s Championship presented by Konica Minolta and Raymond James. After a brief stopover at home for a quick celebration of her fourth victory in the 2021 season, the 23-year-old Bradenton native comes to the CME Group Tour Championship feeling good about her game and trying to stay energized with $1.5 million on the line.
“Last week was definitely a confidence boost, but I've always said it's really hard to kind of win back to back because you're a little mentally and physically drained from the week prior,” Korda said. “So making sure that I'm well-rested and that I'm 100% going into Thursday, and that I'll be 100% going into Sunday as well is probably going to be my main focus this week. It would be crazy to win (the Race to the CME Globe). You never know but good golf will solve that. I haven't even teed it up on Thursday, or the pro-am, so still a long way away. It would be nice to win another one at home. Before this year, I didn't win a tournament on home soil so it would be nice to do it in front of family.”
Another opportunity to win back-to-back is on tap for Korda this week, echoing her Meijer LPGA Classic and KPMG Women’s PGA Championship achievement. Korda’s track record is stout — she’s carded two top-five finishes and one top-ten in just four starts at the CME Group Tour Championship — and the Floridian’s Bermuda grass roots run deep. Combine that experience with a confidence boost from Pelican and the fresh perspective of new coach Jamie Mulligan, Korda is primed for another solid showing.
A win would make her the first American to win at least five times in a season since Juli Inkster in 1999. And though she isn’t trying to get ahead of herself, there’s also a Rolex Player of the Year award on the line, something she’s never had a shot at before.
“I love this event. I love this golf course. I love any type of Florida event I can drive to. I always feel so much more at home and have family and friends come out. I've played well at this golf course. I grew up in Florida on Bermuda grass, so it's kind of easier for me to adapt to this. I'm super excited to be back, and hopefully I can give it a good shot this year,” said Korda. “It's crazy because usually I come to this event and I'm so far away from that. I see so many girls that have had an amazing year, and I'm like, ‘Okay, I would have to play amazing to even be in contention for that.’ So the fact that I'm in contention just shows how well I've played this year and shows how much my hard work has been paying off.”