For the second consecutive week, 23-year-old Nelly Korda steps into a tournament as its defending champion. Last week at the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give, she made a hearty run at defending her title, making birdie on her 72nd hole and eventually losing in a three-way playoff to Jennifer Kupcho. (Leona Maguire also was in the playoff.)
Korda’s dominant performance at last year’s KPMG PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club not only delivered the champion’s trophy to her, but also the No. 1 perch in the Rolex Rankings. As she looks back, Korda, currently No. 2, savors her first major title. She knows they do not come easy. How does she feel she has changed in the past year?
“I don't think I've changed a bunch in the past year,” Korda said. “In a sense I think I've just become a little bit more consistent and confident that I can win a major championship. But, yeah, I think I've just kind of learned my way around the major championship week, and not to put too much pressure on myself, and to enjoy every moment, too, because a lot of people emphasize major championship weeks so much.”
Korda reasons that the same players are going up against one another on a week-to-week basis in regular-season events, and those who can stay relaxed in those bigger major moments will fare better.
“You're all going for the title,” she said. “I think the people that play the best enjoy themselves the most on the golf course.”
Korda has made two starts since sitting out more than three months following surgery to alleviate a blood clot in her left arm. She has pretty much picked up where she left off, with a T8 at the U.S. Women’s Open and her runner-up finish at Meijer.