Nelly Korda, in search of history, surges. But 2 others posing problem for her

Nelly Korda

Nelly Korda hits her tee shot on Friday on the 7th hole at Upper Montclair Country Club.

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Nelly Korda’s streak, Max Homa says, is unsurprising. And yet surprising. 

Of course she’d string together five-straight wins, he thought. 

It’s just that Homa wondered how Korda would ever lose.  

“I remember when we played with her,” the earnest PGA Tour pro said earlier this week, “I asked her while we were playing how anyone ever beats her. I’ve been fortunate — I’ve gotten to play with a few of the women on the LPGA. Alison Lee, grew up with her, she’s tremendous; Danielle Kang; a number of others. They’re all so good when you watch them practice. I never really played like a full round of golf with any of them, I don’t think. 

“Nelly’s playing from our tees and it was tremendous. I remember her answer was I need to go see Lydia Ko play and these others, and I realized I just haven’t gotten to see it as much. But I was fairly curious how she ever does lose because she didn’t miss a golf shot for seven holes and made a bunch of putts and chipped it better than anybody in the group, so I guess I’m not surprised. 

“But from what she said, it did pique my interest that obviously there’s a wealth of talent out there, but getting to play with somebody up close and personal for 18 holes from the same tees, you really get to soak in what they’re so great at. 

“Yeah, she’s pretty tremendous.”

Indeed. Korda has not lost since the middle of January. She won the LPGA Drive On Championship the following week. She won the Fir Hills Seri Pak Championship, the Ford Championship and the T-Mobile Match Play in back-to-back-to-back weeks starting in mid-March. Last month, she won the Chevron Championship for her second major. The streak is tied for the best ever in LPGA history, equaling the mark set by Nancy Lopez and Annika Sorenstam, both legends. This week, at the Cognizant Founders Cup, Korda is going for the record alone.

But what she once told Homa is true. 

“These others” can play, even as she is playing rather well. 

After rounds of three-under 69 and six-under 66 at Upper Montclair Country Club in New Jersey, Korda is third, four strokes behind budding superstar Rose Zhang and Madelene Sagstrom, a three-time member of the European Solheim Cup team. Zhang, after rounds of 63 and 68, and Sagstrom, after rounds of 65 and 66, are at 13-under. 

Still, after a week where Korda was everywhere — on Monday, she was at the Met Gala (the Met Gala!), on Tuesday, she did an interview with ESPN — and the streak was the talk of seemingly everyone, Korda played seemingly undeterred on Friday. She showcased her entire bag. There were few mistakes.       

Korda birdied 1. Then 2. Then 5 on a 10-footer. Then 7 on an 8-footer. She parred the next six holes, but then she birdied 14 after dropping a wedge to 5 feet. She parred 15 and 16 and missed her first green in regulation of the day on the par-3 17th, but then she got up and down for par, and she birdied 18.     

Friday saw her third bogey-free round of the year. Golf Channel reported that her 66 beat the stroke average by eight shots. All on a day when the conditions were cooler and rainy. 

Which makes what Zhang and Sagstrom performed also notable. They, too, played in the crud. They also had Korda tracking them — and history — down.

“This is the position everyone wants to be in,” said Sagstrom, whose 66 included seven birdies and an eagle. “You want to be up on the leaderboard. You want to play against the best players. You want your game to be the best every week. If not, be considered one of the best players in the world.

“These are the reasons I play. This is what everyone is trying to do. It’s a good position to be in.”

Only Korda said the same thing afterward. She said she likes playing outside of the lead. 

History is still attainable. 

Unsurprisingly to Homa. 

“Definitely more pressure on you when everyone is trying to get you,” Korda told Golf Channel’s Karen Stupples, “and there is something fun about trying to catch the leaders.

“They’re both very different. I’m just going to stay in my bubble. This golf course is already hard enough, so not going to put that much pressure on myself trying to catch them. Wherever I can take advantage I will and see how it goes.”

Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at

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