World No 1 Nelly Korda says recent performances have given her a “confidence boost” following a back injury, ahead of the start of the Women’s Open on Thursday.
The 25-year-old American has impressed since missing the cut at the PGA Championship on her return to action in June, winning a Ladies’ European Tour event in London last month before a top-10 finish at the Evian Championship.
Recent rain has lengthened the Walton Heath course where the year’s final Major will be played, which could play into the big-hitting Korda’s hands.
“It’s playing very long,” said Korda after her final practice round on Wednesday. “It’s going to be a very good challenge.”
This year there have been four different Major winners – Lilia Vu (Chevron Championship), Yin Ruoning (LPGA Championship), Allisen Corpuz (US Women’s Open) and Celine Boutier (Evian Championship) – and Korda hopes to make it five and add a second Major to the 2021 LPGA Championship.
“It’s getting very tough to win any tournament,” said Korda. “Every year, the girls are getting better. Rose [Zhang] comes out and wins her first tournament.
“But it was a great confidence boost to win in London, it was a fun tournament. I’m looking forward to the week.”
One of the favourites this week is Ireland’s Leona Maguire, who finished tied fourth at Muirfield last year.
She led going into the final round of this season’s LPGA Championship, but fell away and eventually finished 11th.
“At Baltusrol, I put three really good rounds together,” reflected the 28-year-old. “But I had won a tournament the week before and I think it took quite a lot out of me. I was quite drained come the Sunday.
“But I got myself in contention and it was a great learning experience. You find out how to deal with the emotions on Sunday and everything that goes with it.”
Maguire aims to become the first Irish woman to win a Major, and she has had advice from Padraig Harrington and Shane Lowry, both former men’s Open winners.
“I’ve chatted to them both and Paul McGinley has also been very helpful. He was our captain at the Rio Olympics and he offered some great advice,” she said.
Maguire, a two-time LPGA winner, is the leading Irish player at world No 13.
“I don’t really look at the rankings,” she admitted. “I just focus on playing well and everything else takes care of itself.”
© Agence France-Presse