Golf

Nelly Korda is T3 as she chases history. But she's also 11 back

Nelly Korda is a long way back in New Jersey.
Elsa/Getty Images
If Nelly Korda is going to win her sixth LPGA start in a row, something no one has ever done before, she’ll have to add another record too.
To win the Cognizant Founders Cup Sunday, Korda will have to complete an 11-stroke comeback win, which would break the record for the largest 54-hole comeback on the LPGA Tour.
Korda, the No. 1 Player in the World and winner of her last five starts, shot a third-round 73 Saturday at Upper Montclair Country Club, falling well behind overnight leaders Rose Zhang and Madelene Sagstrom. Starting the day four clear of Korda in third, Sagstrom posted a 66 while Zhang came home with 67 to sit and 19 and 18 under, respectively. The pair will start the final round in a true two-horse race as they’re 10 shots clear of the rest of the field.
Korda is among a group of three at eight under after posting four bogeys on her front nine to follow up a bogey-free 66 Friday during which she missed just one green. On Saturday, her ball striking was still good, but 34 putts took her out of the hunt for her record-breaking win.
“It’s just kind of poor in all aspects, Korda said. “Yesterday was good in everything and today was poor in everything, so that’s just pretty much golf for you. Just made too many kind of stupid, silly mistakes, which was unfortunate because they were playing so well. So now there is just a massive gap.”
No player has ever come back from a final-round deficit of more than 10 shots. A 10-shot comeback has happened three times, most recently by Louise Friberg at the 2008 Mastercard Classic. Annika Sorenstam, with whom Korda shares the record for five consecutive wins, also made a 10-shot comeback at the 2001 Office Depot hosted by Amy Alcott.
“I think I’ve played really good golf the past couple months,” Korda said. “I’m human, so I’m going to have bad days. I’m not going to feel 100% out here mentally, physically, or whatever, but I’m going to give it my all. It was just one of those days where it felt like a constant battle and didn’t really play too well, but I fought until the end.”
Even having pulled away from Korda on Saturday, Sagstrom was still in awe of what she’s done to start the season. She started shaking her head when asked about her.
“I think it’s something that everyone wants to do. It’s incredible what she — I mean, she’s been playing incredible golf for a long time,” Sagstrom said. “I think she very well deserved that streak that she’s been on. It’s been incredible to watch and I think that all of us are just trying to do something a little bit like — can I win one? That’s a good start.”
Both Sagstrom and Zhang, who seeking their second LPGA victory on Sunday, put on a clinic Saturday, seemingly feeding off each other as they took control of the event.
But the 31-year-old Swede was careful to say it wasn’t a match-play situation and the final round won’t be either.
“It’s really hard to try to react to somebody else’s game,” she said. “I did say it earlier, you have to try to find your own momentum. I have to find my own game. Not trying to react if she makes birdies or bogeys. Just more really go out and trying to hit the best shots that I can do over each opportunity that I have.”

Jack Hirsh is an assistant editor at GOLF. A Pennsylvania native, Jack is a 2020 graduate of Penn State University, earning degrees in broadcast journalism and political science. He was captain of his high school golf team and recently returned to the program to serve as head coach. Jack also still *tries* to remain competitive in local amateurs. Before joining GOLF, Jack spent two years working at a TV station in Bend, Oregon, primarily as a Multimedia Journalist/reporter, but also producing, anchoring and even presenting the weather. He can be reached at jack.hirsh@golf.com.
 
 
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