Issued on: 08/19/2021 – 9:10 pmChanged: 08/19/2021 – 9:08 pm
Carnoustie (UK) (AFP)
Nelly Korda lived up to her claim to be number one in the world by taking part of the lead in the first round of the women’s British Open on Thursday in Carnoustie, together with South Korean Kim Sei-young and Swede Madelene Sagstrom.
23-year-old Korda, already winner of her first major at the LPGA championship in June and Olympic gold medalist from Tokyo earlier this month, continued her glorious summer with an eight-birdie round of 67.
But on a relatively quiet day on the notoriously brutal Scottish Links Course, Kim and Sagstrom got that five-under score.
Korda had ducked out of her pre-tournament press conference – but she insisted the decision was nothing sinister as she instead spent more time on the driving range.
“I still feel like a little girl playing golf,” said Korda, daughter of 1998 Australian Open tennis champion Petr Korda.
“It’s been a long couple of weeks and I have to be careful with my time. I had to play in a Pro-Am yesterday (Wednesday) and I didn’t hit that well and wanted to get on the range. I was really very tired.”
But her golf wasn’t tired in the first round of the fifth and final major of the season.
“It was a little drizzly but there wasn’t too much wind so I could be aggressive,” she added.
“I haven’t played left (coastal) golf much, so I picked the brain of (2004 champion) Karen Stupples.
“She was on the course as part of the Golf Channel team and told me to miss the fairway bunkers. On links courses it’s sometimes better to have a longer club on the green.”
– Kim quarreling –
Kim had a top 10 finish in the Olympics and the world number four made six birdies to raise hopes of adding a second major to her win at the LPGA championship last year.
“I didn’t win a medal, but the Tokyo Olympics gave me a lot of momentum and I really enjoyed the day,” she said.
In the dispute – South Korea’s Kim Sei-young shared the lead after the first round of the Women’s British Open in Carnoustie YOSHI IWAMOTO AFP
“The weather from Japan to here is so different, but I’m very happy. I had problems when I played for the first time in Scotland at the 2015 Open at Turnberry – but now I love it.”
Sagstrom rolled in seven birdies and her low score could not have come at a more opportune time.
The Swede played alongside European Solheim Cup captain Catriona Matthew and is hoping to join the Scottish team next month to defend the trophy in the US, announced on Monday.
“I’m always happy to play with Catriona,” said the 28-year-old, who competed in 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 she’s thinking?”
The front runners were one of a group that included two Britons 2018 winner Georgia Hall and the formidable British amateur champion Louise Duncan and US Women’s Open champion Yuka Saso from the Philippines.
Home hero Duncan got one of the loudest cheers of the day when the Scot pounded a 50-foot monster putt for an eagle three on the long 14th.
“I was so nervous and hardly slept,” the 21-year-old student admitted. “But now I’m looking forward to tomorrow (Friday). I have an early start so it’s great to just get up and go and not have time to think about it.”
© 2021 AFP