Morikawa eager to savour taste of success after debut Open triumph
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With Olympic gold in her pocket, Nelly Korda heads to this week’s British Open as arguably the most in form golfer of the year, and she will no doubt be looking to add to her 2021 successes come Sunday at Carnoustie.
Aged just 23 the American has taken the golfing world by storm this campaign, winning her maiden major title at this year’s women’s PGA Championship as well as Olympic gold in the women’s golf event in Tokyo last month.
As well as having titles in the trophy cabinet, Korda’s astounding on-course stats showcase that she has been golf’s shining light this term, after finishing in the top three of a remarkable 50% of her 14 tournaments this year.
This hot form has of course seen the 23-year-old climb to number one in the women’s world golf rankings, and rightly so. The PGA Championship winner has broken 70 an impressive 18 times out of her last 20 rounds, averaging 67.15.
As a result, Korda saved arguably her best 18 holes of the year for the biggest stage of all after shooting a superb, nine-under-par, 62 on the way to her Olympic title in the second round of the women’s golf event at Kasumigaseki Country Club.
The world number one made her way to the 18th tee on day two with the hopes of becoming only the second player in professional women’s golf to card a round of 59, however a frustrating double bogey on the final hole of the day saw her settle with a 61.
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The trip up at 18 was the only blemish in a quite outstanding second round performance and after back-to-back two-under, 69’s on day three and four the American found herself on top of the Olympic podium, delivering her nation’s second golf gold medal in six days after Xander Schauffele won the men’s event.
Korda had the honour of competing in the Games alongside Team USA teammate, and older sister Jessica who finished in a tie for 15th at the Tokyo Games on nine-under for the tournament.
The Korda’s representation in professional sport does not stop there as the golfing sisters join both their parents – Petr and Regina – in becoming professional athletes after the pair both enjoyed successful Tennis careers.
Like Nelly, her father Petr was no stranger to succeeding on the biggest stage of all, after the Czeckslovakian reached the final of the 1992 French Open, before winning the Australian Open in 1998, where he moved to a career high ATP ranking of second.
Added to this, Nelly’s younger brother Sebastian has announced himself on the world sporting stage, following in the footsteps of his parents in becoming a professional Tennis player, currently sitting inside the world’s top 50 despite being just 21.
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With sporting success all around her, the 23-year-old will no doubt be looking to carry on her own personal charge on the world of women’s golf as she heads to this week’s British Open as tournament favourite.
Despite Scotland’s Carnoustie playing as arguably one of the UK’s hardest Open venues, a mix of Korda’s remarkable recent form and flawless swing and technique could see her once again clinch victory on the biggest stage.
A win at Carnoustie this week, would see her join the likes of Ben Hogan and Tom Watson as Americans to triumph at the Scottish links, however there is no doubt that this could be her toughest test yet.
The American will kick off her Open charge in tomorrow’s opening round alongside England’s Charley Hull and Japan’s Nasa Hataoka at 8:09am BST.
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