Nelly Korda outlined the size of the task facing the AIG Women’s Open field as persistent winds blew through Royal Troon during Thursday’s opening round.
Gusts of up to 40mph were a feature of day one and the opening seven holes, which played directly into the wind, proved particularly challenging.
In the context of the conditions, Korda could be very happy with a one-over 72 that looked set to leave her well-placed heading into the second round. As the final groups teed off on Thursday, Sophia Popov was the only player in the clubhouse under par, courtesy of a one-under 70.
“It was crazy,” said world number four Korda when asked about the weather early in her round. “I hit a driver on the first tee and I hit my driver 187 yards, so the first couple of holes were brutal. I had a hard time walking.
“I had like 140 (for my approach) on the first hole and I hit a 5-iron and didn’t even get there because it just ballooned straight up in the air. I was happy when it kind of started dying down and I just tried to keep my head level and just keep chugging along.”
“The first couple of holes were brutal. I had a hard time walking.” Nelly Korda
Korda’s performance was all the more impressive given her lack of experience in the conditions.
“This is pretty much only my second or third time playing links golf,” she added. “This is by far the worst weather that I’ve had playing links golf.
“My caddie (helped), for sure. He kept reminding me that obviously I'm going to make mistakes, but everyone's playing through this weather and you've just got to stay patient out here and just take it shot by shot. Find your ball, hit it again. That's my mentality this week, or today, especially.”
Korda will look to remain upbeat on Friday, when more stormy weather is forecast.
“I heard it's supposed to be actually a little worse tomorrow,” Korda added. “I’m hoping that it won't be, but you never know, and you just (have to) go in every single day with a positive attitude.
“You know in the back of the head you have to tell yourself that you are going to make mistakes, but to just stay positive because that goes a long way.”