Nelly Korda returns to Pelican, site of her last LPGA victory; officials shorten event to 54 holes as Tropical Storm Nicole looms

Nelly Korda calls this year a roller coaster, a description that also happens to mirror how she won last year’s Pelican LPGA Championship. After a disastrous triple bogey from the fairway on the penultimate hole Sunday, Korda battled back to win in a playoff over Sei Young Kim, Lydia Ko, and Lexi Thompson.

The Pelican was Korda’s fourth LPGA title of the season, making her the most decorated American player since Stacy Lewis in 2012. Her 2022 season came to a sudden halt, however, after a blood clot was found in her left arm. She underwent surgery in the spring and missed four months of competition.

“I played some solid golf since coming back,” said Korda, “but I’ve also overdone it and also played some poor golf.”

The roller coaster continues this week as Tropical Storm Nicole has forced officials to shorten the Pelican Women’s Championship to 54 holes. Forecasts call for one-three inches of rain and strong winds with gusts up to 50 mph. Local authorities have closed schools and may need to close bridges.

Friday morning’s forecast includes the chance of a lingering thunderstorm.

“It’s the same for everyone,” said Korda of potential schedule upheaval.

Korda’s only victory of the year came in August at the Ladies European Tour’s Aramco Team Series event at Sotogrande in Spain. She tied for second at the Meijer LPGA Classic as well as the CP Women’s Open but missed the cut in her last two starts on tour.

While Korda hasn’t competed in an LPGA event since late September, she did finish solo fourth at the Aramco Team Series in New York last month.

“I think I missed so much of the year that I kind of wanted to make it all up in a sense,” said Korda, who said she probably shouldn’t have teed it up in Arkansas and Texas.

“As I said, I’m learning constantly, learning about my body, and that’s a great thing about golf, is that it humbles you and once you think you kind of got the hang of it, it kind of makes you come back down to reality.”

Currently No. 4 in the world, Korda said much of her time away from the tour has been making a decision for the new home she’s building close to where she grew up in Bradenton, Florida.

“Oh, my gosh it’s so stressful,” said Korda of the decision-making. “I hate it. I literally hate it. I have an interior designer and she helps me a lot. I’m like, this is all you. Like I can’t look through this many pieces of furniture. Like I just can’t do that.”

There are 120 players in the field this week at the Pelican, where much is the on the line as players make their final push to qualify for the CME Group Tour Championship (top 60) and maintain full status on tour (top 100).

Lydia Ko leads Minjee Lee by a single point in the Rolex Player of the Year race. She also paces the Vare Trophy race for lowest scoring average. Neither Lee nor top-ranked Atthaya Thitikul are in the field this week. Hye-Jin Choi needed to win this week to have a chance at besting Thitikul in the Louise Suggs Rookie of the Year race. Choi withdrew from the field earlier this week. A reason was not given.

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek