Nelly Korda Misses Out on Golfing History as Her Winning Streak Ends at Five

Nelly Korda sits proudly atop the women’s golf world rankings and has done for some time. Right now she is a long way clear at the top of the standings too, with not far off double the points of the second-placed player, US compatriot, Lilia Vu. However, even the very greatest exponents of any sport have to taste defeat sometime and after winning five tournaments in a row, it was Korda’s time to fall short recently.

No female golfer had ever won six tournaments in a row before, giving the Florida-born daughter of Czech tennis star, Petr Korda the chance to make history. Sadly, despite a brilliant 66 in the second round, that saw her move into contention on a cold, wet day in New Jersey, at the Cognizant Founders Cup, she wasn’t quite able to sustain a challenge at the weekend.

Zhang Proves Too Hot to Handle

Rose Zhang
Rose Zhang (Credit Michael Stokes via Wikipedia)

It wasn’t that Korda played badly in her quest to create a new record for consecutive tournament wins, but simply that eventual champion, Rose Zhang, was on fire. The American, who moved up to number six in the world following her victory, shot an incredible 24 under par aggregate of 264. Swede Madeline Sagstroem ran her close and finished just two shots back but the rest of the field were essentially in a different tournament.

Gabriela Ruffels was third, way back on -9, with Korda one of several players to finish in a tie for seventh on seven under. Korda closed with two 73s, finishing 17 adrift of the brilliant Zhang, who had a week to remember in shooting 63-68-67-66.

Korda’s Fab Five Still Fantastic

Golf tournament putter

Coming from such a sporting, competitive family (both her parents were pro tennis players, whilst brother Sebastian followed in their footsetps, and sister Jessica competes against Nelly on the LPGA Tour), Korda will no doubt be hurting from this defeat. But of course, in golf, even the best in the world will tend to lose far more often than they win, and when she reflects on what she has achieved, Korda will surely be incredibly proud of the five wins in a row she did manage.

Win Number 1: First of the Season via a Play-off

Korda headed into the LPGA Drive On Championship ranked number four in the world but moved up two places after a play-off win against Lydia Ko. Both golfers shot 273, 11 under, but the US star came through the play-off on the second hole to claim the winner’s cheque of $262,500.

Korda Claims Consecutive Play-off Win

Korda claimed her 10th win on the Tour by beating Ryann O’Toole in a play-off, showing her nerve and mettle when the going gets tough. Her success in the Fir Hills Seri Pak Championship saw her move back to number one in the world, the fifth time that she had occupied that lofty position. O’Toole gave her a fright with a closing 66 and despite finishing with three bogeys and a birdie in her last four holes, Korda produced a birdie on the first extra hole to take the title.

Hat-Trick Secured at the Inaugural Ford Championship

In the long history of the game, relatively few players have ever managed to win three tournaments in a row on a top-level tour, be they men or women. Korda joined that elite group by claiming the Ford Championship Presented by KCC to cement her position at the pinnacle of the game.

She made slightly lighter work of this win, producing an imperious display on Sunday to win the title by two shots. Her faultless, bogey-free round of 65 was enough to see off Hira Naveed – and everyone else.

Win Number Four Shows Field No Match for Nelly

Proving herself to be just as good at match play at strokeplay, Korda made it four in a row by claiming the only match play tournament on the women’s schedule. She beat Ireland’s Leona Maguire 4&3 in Las Vegas to take home very tidy $300,000 at the T-Mobile Match Play presented by MGM Rewards (to use its full, cumbersome sponsorship name).

Fab Five Brings Major Joy

What better way to bring up your fifth consecutive win than by shooting four rounds in the 60s to claim a major championship? That is exactly what the phenomenal world number one did at the Chevron Championship, one of the women’s five majors.

She was once again too hot to handle, showing remarkable consistency in shooting 68-69-69-69, essentially making the tough Jack Nicklaus Course in Texas look like a par 69! Her final score of 13 under was two clear of Swede Maja Stark, and earnt the Floridian a very cool $1.2m.

With the cheque she picked up when finishing seventh next time out, Korda’s 2024 earnings stand at just under $2.5m, an incredible amount and well over twice what Stark, second on the money list, has garnered. With the many huge sponsorship deals that are sure to be heading her way in the wake of this brilliant winning streak, she may well end up making more money in 2024 that her father earnt in prize money during his entire tennis career ($9.6m).

Other Five-Timers

Annika Sörenstam
Annika Sörenstam (Credit Keith Allison via Wikipedia)

Whilst Korda couldn’t make it six in a row to strike out on her own with the longest run of consecutive wins, she has joined some pretty elite company in boasting five wins back-to-back. Legendary Swedish star, Annika Sörenstam, was the last woman to achieve the feat, in 2004/05.

Sorenstam won 96 professional tournaments, including 72 on the LPGA Tour and 10 majors. Those 10 majors put her joint-fourth on the all-time list but it should be noted that she is the only player in the top six to have been active after the 1960s. The game is much more competitive these days and many consider Sorenstam to be the greatest of all time.

That said, Nancy Lopez was the first woman to win five tournaments in succession, doing so in 1978. Lopez did not quite have as good a career as Sorenstam – but then who did. But the American still landed three majors, so clearly the omens are good for Korda when it comes to winning more of the game’s biggest events.

Some Way to Go to Catch Nelson

Incredible as those feats all are, Korda and all the rest of the pros, men or women, have some way to go to match the achievements of Byron Nelson. The Texan won five majors but is perhaps best remembered for what he accomplished in 1945.

That season, the American legend won 18 tournaments in total. He entered 30, so that winning percentage of 60% is truly astonishing. Even more breathtaking is that he won every single event he played between March and August, winning 11 consecutive events! Over to you Nelly.