In-form Nelly Korda credited a positive attitude as the key behind a strong opening round at the 2021 AIG Women’s Open which cemented the world no.1 among the early contenders at Carnoustie.
The newly-crowned Olympic champion arrived in Scotland hoping to win her second major of the year following her success at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in June and carded a five-under 67 to take an early share of the clubhouse lead.
Korda did not have it all her own way and recorded three bogeys but bounced back with a birdie on each occasion, showing an ability to quickly move on from disappointment which the American feels is essential when negotiating Carnoustie’s unique challenges.
“I played well,” she said. “I took advantage of the calmer day and I’m happy with the score I have.
“I could take advantage [of calmer conditions] and be more aggressive. It’s good to have a caddy that keeps it positive out there and reminds you there is plenty of golf yet.
"You have to enjoy it here. You never know what kind of weather you’ll get, a good shot will take a massive bounce into the bunker, you’re going to get a fried egg like I did on one of the holes.
"You have to laugh it off. Everyone will go through it at some point this week and a good positive attitude will take you a long way."
The American had braced herself for contrasting weather to that which she experienced en route to gold in Tokyo but may not have quite prepared for the misty, chilly morning that lay in wait as the Championship got underway.
It meant conditions were markedly different to those on the practice days at Carnoustie, let alone in the Japanese capital, but Korda adapted seamlessly and saved her best until last with successive birdies at 17 and 18.
“I cut it a little close on 17,” she said, reflecting on a tee shot which almost found the water hazard.
“I was a little nervous coming off that tee box but I hit a really good 6-iron to six feet [from the hole].
“The next hole I hit a really solid drive, which is really important on that 18th to make sure that it doesn't drift out right into the bunkers.
“I hit two really good shots, and I gave myself another look for birdie.
“It’s the coldest I’ve played in this year and it’s a bit of an adjustment from Tokyo, where I was growing a sweat ‘tache!
“You never know what weather you’ll get in Britain but if you can take advantage of a calmer day, it’s a good stepping stone for the next few days.”