THE COLONY, TEX | Jessica Korda didn’t know what sort of challenge she was in for when she woke up Thursday morning for the first round of The Ascendant LPGA benefiting Volunteers of America. As she walked her dog, Charlie, she got her first taste of the wind and cold that would wreak havoc on Old American Golf Club.
“It was quite a shock because the last three days we've been out here it’s been super calm and warm,” Korda told the Golf Channel’s Paige Mackenzie. “It’s like the three practice rounds we played were absolutely worthless.”
While the conditions were less than ideal, Korda managed to walk off the 18th green at 2-under, in the mix early with 54 holes left to play. Korda is more than happy with her first round, considering how hard it was to simply make par today.
“I mean, par is a really good score,” Korda said. “Putting was a challenge because we were really exposed, I feel like there is nowhere to hide out here. As we get closer to the lake it gets really challenging, even just putting. So, I love an under par any day of the week and I’ll definitely take it today.”
Battling the wind, Korda had to adjust her strategy off the tee. For example, she hit a 4-iron instead of a driver on No. 18. Ultimately, her strategy paid off as she averaged 241.5 yards in driving distance and hit 10 of 13 fairways en route to four birdies.
“It was definitely a little bit more about placement and trying to figure out what clubs we wanted into these greens,” Korda explained. “With it being this windy, it changed the golf course a lot for us. Normally, we would probably be hitting a lot more drivers, but with the wind being the way it was today, we just tried to play as best we could and place the balls where we needed to.”
Thursday’s result is part of a hot streak Korda has found in recent weeks. Entering The Ascendant LPGA, Korda had posted a scoring average of 67.8 with just 1.2 bogeys or worse per round over her last six rounds. In that span, she has averaged 2.61 strokes gained total and 1.68 stroked gained tee to green.
Last week, at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G, Korda finished at -11 to earn her third consecutive top-20 finish. Though she has yet to find a win in 2022, she’s kept herself in contention with six top 10s in 14 starts.
So far this week, Korda has already put herself in a strong position going into the next three days, but that won’t change any of her preparation. Nor will the weather.
“Apparently tomorrow is supposed to be calm,” Korda said. “I don't know. We’ll see what tomorrow brings. Every day is new. Welcome to golf.”