SOUTHERN PINES, N.C. – Nelly Korda’s putter let her down over the closing stretch on moving day as she closed with three consecutive bogeys to see her hopes dashed at the U.S. Women’s Open.
“Definitely not the finish I wanted,” Korda said after her round on Saturday at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club. “That was tough. I'm sure that was tough to watch, too.”
Korda, who began the day six strokes back of leaders Mina Harigae and Minjee Lee, pulled within four strokes with her fourth birdie of the day at the par-5 10th. But Korda, who appeared to have a different shaft in her putter for the third round, three-putted at the par-3 16th and par-4 17th holes. Korda also failed to get up-and-down at the par-4 18th hole to record three consecutive bogeys on her way into the clubhouse. Korda settled for a 1-under 70 to drop back to 4 under par and outside the top 10.
“I'm just happy to be out here, even though that was a tough pill to swallow,” Korda said. “I still have one more day and I'm doing what I love and I'm out here in the heat competing at the U.S. Women's Open, and a couple months back I wasn't sure if I was going to be doing that.”
Thursday, Korda made her return to competition for the first time since February after undergoing surgery in April to remove a blood clot in her right arm. At the start of the week she told the media that she was “not expecting too much” from her return. Throughout the week she seemed utterly grateful to simply have the ability to compete again and embraced the experience more than the results.
“I don't think I've ever had that big of a crowd following me at a Women's Open or in general on a Saturday, not even being in the last pairing,” Korda said. “That was really cool to hear everyone shout my name. And for everyone to say that they're happy that I'm back, it felt really nice, too.”
Korda, who captured her first major victory at the 2021 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, has largely struggled in the U.S. Women’s Open, in which she has a single top-10 finish in seven prior starts.