World No. 8 Nelly Korda will be one of the favourites for the HSBC Women’s World Championship title when the action gets underway at Sentosa Golf Club’s New Tanjong Course tomorrow.
Runner up to Michelle Wie in 2018, Korda joins the tournament in a rich vein of form that puts her top of the LPGA Tour’s 2019 Race to the CME Globe. With two wins, and a second, third and seventh place finish in her last six outings, the 1.78m American is enjoying the best form of her professional career.
Drawing comparisons with last year, Korda said: “I definitely feel more confident. I kind of know the ins and outs of this golf course after playing it once. But I’m just going to approach it like I do every week. It’s a new week. The course is playing completely different than it was last year, so, in my eyes, it’s like playing a completely different golf course, so I’m just going to approach it like I approach every week.”
Asked if she felt a need to work on her mental approach to the game, the 20-year old’s answer was telling: “Not really. I was pretty lucky with it. My parents always refer to me as the lion because I just see something, and I go after it. I’m always pretty determined. So, I’ve always kind of had that aspect, but I think just playing so much competitive golf, even at a young age, kind of builds it.”
Growing up in the ultra-talented – and equally determined – Korda family, it should come as no surprise that Nelly has what it takes to win on the international stage. That she has been able to make her mark on the LPGA Tour so early in her career is impressive by anyone’s standards.
Defending champion Michelle Wie, returns to competition for her second start of the 2019 season after she made her season debut at last week’s Honda LPGA Thailand, where she finished T23. Last year, Wie carded a final-round 7-under-par 65 for one of the largest come-from-behind victories after a five-shot deficit.
“It’s great. Singapore is definitely one of my favourite spots out of the year. It’s a tournament that I look forward to all year, and it’s definitely a different experience coming back as defending champion. It’s really cool. It’s awesome to see my picture kind of everywhere and it’s pretty neat, especially coming on 18, I look, ‘oh, there I am’”, said Wie yesterday.
Korda and Wie are joined by World No. 1 Ariya Jutanugarn, along with the top 15 players in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, including No. 5 Inbee Park making her season debut. 2019 LPGA Tour winner Eun-Hee Ji is also in this week’s star-studded field.
For World No. 1 Ariya Jutanugarn, the world ranking hasn’t really changed her. Instead, the 23-year-old has been working on focusing on things in her control instead of the outcome, taking each week and each shot as a learning opportunity to help her work towards finding her best form.
“I feel like [the ranking] hasn’t changed me much. The only thing changed is my ranking, really, like No. 2 and No. 1. Nothing much changed,” said Jutanugarn who returned to the No. 1 spot last October. “I still have to work on the same stuff. I still have to focus on the same stuff. You know, because I didn’t feel like last year was playing my best year, because I always felt like 2016 was my best year.”
Singaporean favourite and Sentosa member Amanda Tan is out of the 10th tee at 10.52am and will be hoping for some strong home support. This is Tan’s third time playing in the tournament but the first time she is feeling comfortable amongst the world’s best after coming through a strong regional qualifying competition which, for the first time, involved players from as many as seven countries around the region.
Tan explained: “In 2014 and 2017 I felt I had sneaked a place in the field but this time around I really feel I belong.”
For more information , visit the tournament website at www.hsbcgolf.com/womens