CARNOUSTIE, UK – Nelly Korda lived up to her world number one label by taking a share of the first-round lead at the Women’s British Open alongside South Korean Kim Sei-young and Sweden’s Madelene Sagstrom at Carnoustie on Thursday.
The leaders were one ahead of a group that included US Women’s Open winner Yuka Saso from the Philippines and two Britons, 2018 champion Georgia Hall and stunning British amateur champion Louise Duncan.
The 23-year-old Korda, already a winner of her first major at the LPGA Championship in June and an Olympic gold medalist from Tokyo earlier this month, continued her glorious summer with a round of 67 from eight birdies.
But on a relatively quiet day during the notoriously brutal Scottish Links course, Kim and Sagstrom matched that five-under-par score.
Korda had skipped his pre-tournament press conference, but insisted there was nothing sinister about the decision, as he instead spent more time on the driving range.
“I still feel like a girl playing golf,” explained Korda, the daughter of 1998 Australian Open tennis champion Petr Korda.
“It’s been a long couple of weeks and I have to manage my time carefully. Yesterday (Wednesday) I had to play in a Pro-am and I wasn’t hitting it that well and I wanted to get to range. I was very, very tired. “
But there was nothing tired about his golf in the first round of the fifth and final major of the season.
“It was a bit drizzle, but there wasn’t a lot of wind, so it could be aggressive,” he added.
“I haven’t played a lot of golf on (coastal) links, so I chose the brain of (2004 champion) Karen Stupples.
“She was on the course as part of the Golf Channel team and she told me to lose the fairway bunkers. On link courses, sometimes it’s better to have a longer club on the green. “
Kim in dispute
Kim finished in the top 10 at the Olympics and the world number four made six birdies to raise hopes of adding a second major to her victory in last year’s LPGA Championship.
“I didn’t win a medal, but the Tokyo Olympics gave me a good boost and I really enjoyed today,” he said.
“The climate from Japan to here is very different, but I am very happy. I struggled when I first played in Scotland at the 2015 Open at Turnberry, but now I love it. “
Sagstrom made seven birdies and his low score couldn’t have come at a more opportune time.
The Swede was playing alongside Solheim European Cup captain Catriona Matthew and hopes to be named to the Scottish team to defend the trophy in the United States next month, with the team announced on Monday.
“I’m always excited to play with Catriona,” said the 28-year-old, who appeared at the 2017 Solheim Cup. “And of course I wanted to show her my game. I’m playing well at the moment, but who knows what he has in mind? “
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