Nelly Korda
Nelly Korda

Korda heads into Evian Championship

EVIAN: Nelly Korda arrives in France hoping to halt an alarming drop in form at this week’s Evian Championship, having also had her preparations hit by a dog bite. The world number one enjoyed a remarkable start to the season with six titles, including five successive triumphs culminating with her second major crown at the Chevron Championship.

Korda appeared unbeatable during that run, drawing comparisons to Tiger Woods at his peak and current men’s world number one Scottie Scheffler. Victory at the Americas Open in May ensured she became the first LPGA Tour player to win six times in a single season since Park In-bee in 2013.

Korda headed into the US Women’s Open as a red-hot favorite but fired a disastrous 10 on a par-three in the opening round en route to missing the cut and still seems to be struggling to recover. She also failed to make the weekend in her next event two weeks later, before suffering a third successive missed cut at the Women’s PGA Championship in June.

The 25-year-old was due to appear at a Ladies European Tour tournament in England earlier this month to prepare for the Evian Championship and next month’s Women’s British Open. But she had to withdraw after being bitten by a dog the day after departing the PGA Championship at Sahalee Country Club early.

“You can dwell on the negatives, but that will never lead you anywhere, so you try to look at the positives,” Korda had insisted ahead of the PGA. “That’s golf. I’m going to go through these situations so many times where I feel like I’m playing really well; and I’ll go through a little lull where golf is the hardest thing in my life right now.”

With Korda struggling, Yuka Saso took advantage to claim her second US Open title, while Amy Yang lifted her maiden major trophy at the PGA. Reigning champion and home favorite Celine Boutier has also lost her form in recent months, without a top-10 finish since early March.

That leaves the tournament seemingly wide open, with Thai star Atthaya Thitikul and US player Lilia Vu among those hoping to become the fourth different major winner of the year. Atthaya has long been tipped to reach the very top of the game and the 21-year-old has hit a rich vein of form.

She reeled off four successive top-10 efforts before a disappointing showing at the PGA Championship, but then won a pair’s event with China’s Yin Ruoning two weeks ago. Vu won two majors last year and became world number one but missed three months of action earlier this season with a back injury.

However, she returned in style with her fifth career LPGA Tour title at the Meijer Classic before finishing in a tie for second behind Yang at Sahalee. — AFP

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