After taking five weeks off from LPGA Tour competition, Nelly Korda will defend her title at the Pelican Women’s Championship presented by Konica Minolta and Raymond James and make what she hopes will be a triumphant return. However, Korda would prefer to win in a different fashion than last year, when she survived a four-person playoff against major champions Lydia Ko, Lexi Thompson and Sei Young Kim.
“Last year it was definitely a very interesting finish. I think I tripled 17 and then I birdied 18 to get into the playoff, and then I birdied my first hole in the playoff. So, yeah, didn't make it very easy for myself,” laughed Korda, who birdied the first playoff hole in 2021 to take home the title. “I definitely lost a couple years off my life with the stress that I caused. Other than that, amazing memories coming back here. Hopefully I can make some really good ones this year.”
Korda’s victory at Pelican Golf Club is her most recent win on Tour, and the event was one of the last she played before she suffered a blood clot in her left arm in February of 2022, which forced her to spend nearly four months away from the game. She returned to the Tour in June in resounding fashion, earning five top-10 finishes in 10 events since coming back. But it all hasn’t been smooth sailing.
“I would recap (this season) in it was a rollercoaster. There was definitely a lot of ups, a lot of downs,” Korda said. “I played some solid golf since coming back, but I've also overdone it and also played some poor golf. So, definitely a learning year, more about myself, more about my body.”
Korda missed the cut in her two most recent LPGA starts, the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G and The Ascendant LPGA benefiting Volunteers of America, the first of which marked the first time she missed playing the weekend since June of 2021. The seven-time Tour winner has only missed one cut in each of the 2019, 2020 and 2021 seasons. Luckily, Korda says it isn’t an injury that has contributed to her lackluster play as of late, but rather an overly competitive desire to make up for lost time.
“I think I missed so much of the year that I kind of wanted to make it all up in a sense,” she said. “I think I came back at the time that I needed to, or that was acceptable. The only thing that I may have made a mistake in is then trying to catch up and just being on the road too much and not taking a breather and stepping back and being fresh.”