‘I’m human’: Nelly Korda makes shocking 10 on a par 3 at 2024 U.S. Women’s Open, shoots 80

LANCASTER, Pa. – Rarely has a dominant favorite faded so quickly at a major championship. Nelly Korda’s shocking 10 on the par-3 12th at Lancaster Country Club – her third hole of the day – put her in danger of missing the weekend at the 79th U.S. Women’s Open. Should the 25-year-old somehow pull off the unimaginable and climb back from an opening 10-over 80 to win a seventh time this season, it would her greatest feat to date in a year of historic proportions.

For the most part, it felt like the air went out of the balloon at Lancaster before lunch.

Korda, winner of six of her last seven events on tour, didn’t hesitate to say yes when her agent asked if she’d take a few questions from the media. She wasn’t surly about the shocking 10 she took on the par-3 12th, nor particularly somber. She’d had plenty of time to digest the debacle by then.

“Making a 10 on a par 3 will definitely not do you any good at a U.S. Open,” she said. “I started off really poorly, but played pretty well on the back nine. But overall, yeah, just a bad day in the office.”

Nelly Korda of the United States and caddie Jason McDede look on during the first round of the U.S. Women’s Open Presented by Ally at Lancaster Country Club on May 30, 2024 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Korda, one of the fastest players on tour, said her group waited for 25 to 30 minutes on the 12th tee, and she was in between a 7-iron and a 6-iron. She didn’t know what to hit. The world No. 1 watched one player come up short of the hazard that guarded the green and another find the water.

She pegged her ball one club length back on the tee box and pulled a 6-iron. The ball penetrated through the wind and landed in the back bunker.

“I kind of had a leaf under my ball, so when I hit it kind of rocketed through,” she explained of her second shot finding the hazard on the other side of the green. “Couldn’t really do anything about that. Yeah, just hit some really bad chips over and over again.”

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Korda found the water twice more as she tried to bump it into the bank, only to watch the ball curl down in the hazard.

“You try to play for that one-hop, trying to get it a little too perfect,” said Megan Khang, “and it gets the best of you.”

Khang, one of Korda’s closest friends on tour, had a front-row seat to the carnage playing in the same group. Walking off the 13th green, Khang gave Korda a little pat on the back. No words were exchanged.

“Overheard (caddie) Jason (McDede), just telling her ‘Hey, c’mon, you can come back from this,’ ” said Khang. “They’re a great team together.”

Korda, who shot 45 on her opening nine, wasn’t the only big-name player to post an 80. The LPGA Hall of Fame watch seems to be off this week after Lydia Ko also shot 10 over.

Crowds were out in force at Lancaster, a demanding William Flynn design that attracted some of the championship’s biggest galleries this century at the 2015 edition. On the ninth hole, where Korda three-putted from 65 feet to finish her round, fans were as much as five deep around the green.

The first 10 of Korda’s LPGA career came on her 8,697th hole. Her previous worse score was an eight, recorded four times and most recently at the 2021 Hugel Air-Premia LA Open at Wilshire Country Club. The 80 ties her highest LPGA score as a professional. She also shot 80 in the final round of the 2023 U.S. Women’s Open at Pebble Beach.

Coming into this week, Korda was 50 under par in the majors since 2020, the best of any player on tour in that span. She won the first major of the season, the Chevron Championship, by two strokes in April for her second career major title. She was looking to become the first player since Inbee Park in 2013 to win the first two majors of the season.

Korda headed to the range Thursday afternoon with instructor Jamie Mulligan immediately after she met with the media. The highest first-round score ever recorded by an eventual champion was Susie Maxwell Berning’s 79 to open the 1972 U.S. Women’s Open on Winged Foot’s East Course. She was seven off the lead after Round 1.

Three players in the morning wave shot 1-under 69. Korda has only broken 70 in this championship twice in nine appearances. She hasn’t been shy about letting the world know that this is the title she wants the most.

“I’m human,” said Korda. “I’m going to have bad days. I played some really solid golf up to this point. Today was just a bad day. That’s all I can say.”

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek