LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Jessica and Nelly Korda love each other; They are sisters, but they are also strong competitors.
As young girls, the Kordas played golf together almost every day and the siblings became more competitive. Jessica, 27, says her younger sister, an AJGA All-American, never beat her in those friendlies at home. When 22-year-old Nelly joined the LPGA in 2017, she made up for all these losses and beat her sister at her first event on tour.
“I was watching her and I thought, ‘This is the day. Get it up early, ”Jessica said with a laugh at the first time Nelly beat her at the season opener in the Bahamas. “We kept tying and on the third day it broke out and I said, ‘Yes. It’s over. ‘ »
Nelly shot a third round of 63 and finished T-5 for the week. Jessica shot 72 on the same day and finished T-16.
Now, four years later, the sisters are kicking at the season opener of the tour, the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions. This time it’s not just about bragging rights, but also about the trophy.
The sisters will be together for the first time on a Sunday in the last Group play as they battle for victory on the LPGA. They’ll chase down 54-hole leader Danielle Kang who leads Jessica at two and Nelly at six. The Kordas start at 11:50 PM ET.
» We talk and it’s like playing with someone else, « Nelly said earlier this week about playing with her sister. » You talk, you chat here and there, but at the end of the day you try to get down to business. «
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The sisters have already been paired twice on the LPGA. They were paired for the first time at the 2017 Pure Silk Championship, where they each finished T-31. They played together again later that season at the Blue Bay LPGA, where Jessica was T-3 and Nelly was T-30.
« I remember doing a pretty long putt at Blue Bay for 8 or 9 [under ] « said Nelly about the second time they played together. “I said, ‘Am I talking to her? Am I not talking to her? « But she burst out laughing afterward. »
That laugh eased the tension and made an otherwise uncomfortable situation easier to deal with. There will undoubtedly be a lot of laughter between the sisters on Sunday as they navigate unfamiliar territory again. They were each other’s biggest fans and supporters when it came to winning on tour. But never before have they rooted each other and tried to hit each other at the same time.
When Jessica won on her return in 2018 after major jaw surgery, Nelly was the first to hug her sister on the green. And when Nelly won in Taiwan for the first time later that season, Jessica posted on social media watching her in the middle of the night. Tears ran down her face and celebrated her sister’s victory.
« We both take root in one another, but at the end of the day we want to hit each other too, » said Nelly. « It’s healthy, but good competitiveness. »
BY Rex Hoggard
BY Rex Hoggard
BY Ryan Lavner