Rested Nelly Korda ready to tackle ‘beast’ U.S. Women’s Open course

For all of Nelly Korda’s accomplishments at just 25 years old, the world’s No. 1 women’s golfer has yet to finish better than a tie for eighth at the U.S. Women’s Open.

She will take her 10th crack at the prestigious major at Lancaster Country Club in Pennsylvania this week. A winner of six of her past seven starts, Korda has never been in better form ahead of a U.S. Women’s Open.

“I’ve definitely played some really solid golf,” she acknowledged. “This golf course is a beast. Off the tee, if you don’t hit it into the fairways, it sinks down into the rough. These greens are small and very, very undulated.

“It’s a beast of a golf course.”

Korda has successfully tackled most of the challenges thrown her way on the course this year. She has won six of eight starts overall, including the first major of the year at the Chevron Championship.

Korda attributes her record-setting form to having her “team” around her. That includes coach Jamie Mulligan traveling to most tournaments this year to provide on-site swing instruction along with caddie Jason McDede.

“The only week that I haven’t had someone out was during Cognizant, and I just didn’t really hit it that well that week,” she said, referencing the T7 finish that snapped Korda’s record-tying streak of five consecutive victories.

“So making sure that my team is taking time for me as well and coming out and making sure that we’re all dedicated to each other has kind of really been the thing that has changed this year, because every event that I’ve been to and I’ve played in, I’ve had a coach there.”

Korda also is careful in planning her schedule in order to provide breaks from the tour grind. After playing 25 holes on Sunday at the Chevron to win her fifth consecutive start, Korda withdrew from the following week’s tournament at Los Angeles to recharge. She has played two events since, winning the Mizuho America’s Open before taking another week off ahead of the U.S. Women’s Open.

“I feel like that’s just everyone in general. That’s everyone who works your regular 9-5 job, just got to get away for the weekend,” she said. “I think that in a sense it’s something that I’ve had to also work on and something that has come natural to me.

“As a kid, my parents really instilled that family values and hanging around our family and just disconnecting from the world has really been important to us.”

Korda is also meticulous in how she prepares for each tournament. That included playing the front nine at Lancaster Country Club on Tuesday. She wants to play the back nine earlier in the day to get a feel for how the course changes throughout the day — anticipating that it will play drier and faster in the afternoon.

Many observers believe Korda’s length and the ability to stop the ball on the greens with loftier iron shots will give her a significant advantage over much of the field. That, along with the fact she has dominated the LPGA Tour through the first half of the year.

“It’s just going to be tough. No matter if you hit it higher or if you’re longer, I feel like the key out here this week is just hitting it straight,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re short or long.

“You can get ahead of yourself, get lost in the moment. If you make a couple mistakes here and there sometimes it can get away from you, but it’s going to test every aspect of your game out there this week.”