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Korda chases LPGA history at Chevron Championship

LOS ANGELES (AFP) – World number one Nelly Korda will be chasing a record-equalling fifth straight LPGA triumph when the Chevron Championship, the first women’s major of the year, in Texas.

The American, who pushed her 2024 winning streak to four tournaments with a victory in the LPGA Match Play in Las Vegas this month, could match the five-tournament streaks achieved by Nancy Lopez in 1978 and Annika Sorenstam in 2005.

But the 25-year-old said she’ll be focusing only on the task at hand – adding a second major victory to the Women’s PGA Championship she won in 2021.

“I’m so in the present that I don’t let myself think about (the streak) too much,” Korda said.

“I feel like that just comes with a little bit more added pressure.”

Instead Korda was concentrating on conquering the par-72 course in The Woodlands in suburban Houston, which is now home to the championship long-staged at Mission Hills in Rancho Mirage, California.

Nelly Korda hits out of a bunker at the fourth green during the final round of the LPGA T-Mobile Match Play golf tournament in Nevada. PHOTO: AP

Ireland’s Leona Maguire got a close-up view of Korda’s dominant form as she fell to the American 4&3 in the Match Play final two weeks ago.

“Obviously Nelly is the best player in the world right now, probably male or female,” Maguire said. “She is playing unbelievable golf.

“Ultimately you know you’re going to have to make birdies if you want to beat her.”

Korda will be challenged by a field that features 11 past champions, including defending champion Lilia Vu.

Vu, who defeated Angel Yin with a birdie at the first playoff hole last year, was revelling in her return to the scene of that triumph.

“Instantly when I landed in Houston it felt very calming to me,” the 26-year-old American said. “I felt almost sort of home. I don’t know, I just kept thinking about it. Even my parents were talking about it last night. Could be a place to consider to move.”

Other contenders include New Zealand’s Lydia Ko, who won her 20th career title at the Tournament of Champions in January and needs just one more title to earn induction to the LPGA Hall of Fame.

The spotlight, however, will be on Korda, whose streak has sparked interest in the LPGA in a way that Vu likened to the influence of Caitlin Clark, whose stellar collegiate basketball career raised the profile of the women’s game and is now set to transfer to the WNBA.

“She is bringing so much to the table, just win after win, just having everything together,” Vu said of Korda.

Korda herself is delighted to find herself inspiring a young generation of golfers.

“There is no better feeling than that,” she said. “Hopefully I do get to inspire the next generation with the love that I have for the game and hopefully they have it too.”

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