SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. – As Nelly Korda was making her way to the driving range Thursday to warm down with her U.S. Women’s Open debut complete, she crossed paths with her older sister Jessica, who was walking there to warm up before beginning her first round.
They hugged when they saw each other.
“I was like, ‘Great round, Nelly!’” Jessica said. “She came out to the first tee and watched me tee off.”
Nelly, 14, the youngest player in this championship, finished her round with a pair of birdies to shoot a 1-over 73. Jessica, 20, opened with a 2-under 70.
It was a big day for the Kordas. Petr, the father, caddied for Nelly and then walked a bit following Jessica, an LPGA pro who won the Women's Australian Open last year. Regina, the mom, walked 36 holes watching both her daughters. Sebastian, the 12-year-old little brother, also walked 36 holes. So did an aunt and uncle.
“We have everybody here,” Jessica said.
Nelly said she wasn’t that nervous standing on the first tee at the start of her first U.S. Women’s Open. Maybe following her older sister in this championship for so many years steadied her nerves. Jessica is playing her sixth U.S. Women’s Open. She was 15 when she first qualified for the event.
“I was probably more nervous for Jessica back then than I was playing my first time,” Nelly said.
Jessica shot a 72 in her U.S. Women’s Open debut at Interlachen in 2008.
Petr, the former tennis pro who won the 1998 Australian Open, was asked what it was like watching two daughters compete in this championship.
“I'll tell you, it was a long day,” Petr said. “I’m proud of my girls, but I’m always proud of them.”