Nelly Korda wins third straight LPGA start at 2024 Ford Championship but there won’t be In-N-Out celebration this time

GILBERT, Ariz. — Nelly Korda’s last win was seven days ago. Lexi Thompson’s winless streak spanned 1,696 days. Korda was looking for a third win in her last three starts. Thompson was seeking to snap a winless streak of 77 tournaments, dating back to June 2019.

Thompson’s drought will continue for at least two more weeks, as she’s skipping the next event in Las Vegas with the Chevron Championship coming in two weeks.

As for Korda, her next In-N-Out celebration for winning will have to wait as well. She said she celebrated after her win a week ago in Los Angeles with a burger and some “animal style” fries but won’t enjoy the meal after her third straight win Sunday in the 2024 Ford Championship, noting that all the In-N-Outs in the Phoenix area are closed for Easter Sunday.

So how will she celebrate victory No. 11?

“With a beautiful five hour drive to Vegas,” she quipped. “Actually, I went to a coffee shop this morning and their baked goods looked really good and I got myself an almond croissant for the road. I’m thinking about that and that’s making me very happy.”

What also makes her happy is winning and Korda has put her name in the LPGA history books with her latest victory. It’s her third win in as many starts, and she’s the first to win three LPGA starts before April 1 since Yani Tseng in 2012 and she’s the first American since 1980, and just the fifth ever, to win three times before April Fool’s day.

It was quite a week for Korda, who never held the outright lead at the Ford till the back nine Sunday. Once she did, she put it in a stranglehold, finishing at 20 under and winning by two shots. She recorded 23 birdies this week, fourth most in the field, and had just five bogeys. She hit 57 of 72 greens in regulation, tied for 15th in the field.

She has a quick turnaround to the match-play event in Vegas which starts Wednesday. She’s also being careful not to look ahead to the first major of 2024, the Chevron Championship, in less than two weeks.

“Just so one at a time,” she said. “I have been a professional golfer since 2016, and when you get ahead of yourself, it’s just never going to be positive. So I’m going to take it one tournament at a time. Stay very present. It’s worked pretty well so far. Sometimes it’s much harder than others. Your self-expectations, the expectations around you, too. I’m going to try and stay in my own little bubble and see how it goes.”

The contrast in tournament success between Korda and Thompson served as the backdrop on the back nine Sunday at Seville Country Club, with the two battling each other as well as the cold and rain, After two days of bright sunny skies, the third round saw 35 mph winds. Tournament officials on Saturday night moved tee times up two hours and golfers woke up Sunday to chilly temps and a steady downpour of spring rain.

A four-way tie for the lead at 17 under gave way to Korda holding the solo lead for the first time all week after a second straight birdie on the 13th hole. Thompson would reclaim a tie for the lead at 18 under after a birdie on the par-3 14th hole. Korda would nudge out in front once again on 16, after she almost jarred her second shot on the driveable par 4, the ball bouncing three times before rolling just over the edge of the cup. A birdie would get her to 19 under.

Hira Naveed joined the party late, as she went 4 under over a six-hole stretch from No. 12 through 17. The first LPGA player of Pakistani descent, Naveed was ranked 648th in the world coming in and finished solo second at 18 under. But it wasn’t enough to threaten the lead of Korda.

Thompson’s run, meanwhile, came to an end on the short par-4 16th. With driver in hand, she pushed her tee shot right and into a lake. She took a drop in the desert and then hit her third on the green but two-putted for bogey. She then missed a short par putt on 17 for another bogey, and she was suddenly three back of Korda with one hole to go.

Korda closed out her day going up-and-down from just off the green on 18 for one final birdie, this one getting her to 20 under and with few pursuers left chasing, safely in the clubhouse. She said she had some soup in an effort to warm up a bit while she waited.

Korda would later hoist the trophy to make it her 11th career victory official. She’s now tied on the all-time list with Jane Geddes, Jiyai Shin and Thompson, who has four solo seconds and four ties for second and Sunday’s tie for third since her last victory.

Lydia Ko came into the week one point away from clinching a spot in the LPGA Hall of Fame. A win at the Ford would have given the 26-year-old the 27th and final point needed for entry. Ko tied for 11th at 15 under and a pair of 70s over the weekend.

Source: Golf Week