L.P.G.A. Is Back in Clearwater, Florida

Posted In: Sports, National Sports,   By: Richard Curry

25th November, 2022     0

My first day at the Clearwater Pelican L.P.G.A. Tournament was a real treat. I got the opportunity to meet Nelly Korda (former #1 Lady Golfer of the Year and the Pelican Champion from last year). At age 24 she won the 2021 Olympic "Gold Medal" when she was interviewed by the press. I was the last person to ask her a question. I said,  "Nelly do you like hockey?" (Nelly) "Yes - why would you ask that?"  (Me) "Are you a Black Hawk fan?" (Nelly)  "Yes & I'm an Oiler, Red Wing, Kings, and Chicago fan."

Her boy friend has played for all four teams.  His name is Andreas Athanasiou. I have an Andreas game used hockey jersey from the Barrie Colts. I told Nelly i would give it to her as a gift. She was very appreciative. Nelly is one sweet young lady. Her sister Jessica Korda (#16 in the World and age 29) had to cancel the rest of the 2022 season because of a bad back.

A few more questions Nelly answered: " I was not physically hurting, but i was mentally fatigued. You don't want to come back to soon, but after 4 weeks I'm  ready to return". Nelly's building a home he Bradenton, Florida & it's not a lot of fun, but she has a lady organizing the project for her. "Golf has a way of humbling you -i t brings you back to reality. " When she won the Pelican last year, she had a triple bogey on 17 and then birdied 18, went into the playoff and won on the first hole.     

This Pelican Tournament has brought together the best lady golfers in the world. 20 of the top 25  are here. 20 of the top 33 tour rookies are also here. 60% of the big money winners are Asian. The first round was canceled as tropical storm "Nicole"  rolled through (5 inches of rain). This golf coarse is one of the finest I've ever walked on. A great lay out. Most every hole has amazing plants, bushes and trees. The local nursery man can now retire.

Just like the L.P.G.A. in Midland - the volunteers here are cordial and friendly. My new friend Bernard was one funny man. Also met a 73 year old photographer. She plays softball and has scored 8 hole in ones.  I met Brooke Henderson (rated 6th in the World) leaving the tournament practice, I said, "Go Canada", and got a big smile out of that one.

Day One: Maria Fassi (Mexico) broke out front with a - 8. Nelly Korda in her come back shot a - 4. Lexi Thompson had a minus 6. Day 2: Nelly Korda shot 66 again and  was - 8. She hits her drives 275 yards. Allisen Corpuz (age 24 - 2022 Rookie of the Year) took the lead at -10. Lexix Thompson was -9.

The last day saw the rise of Nelly Korda. Seeing her early, she was stone cold focused. The girl shot a 64, beating Lexi Thompson by a single shot. Birdies on 16 & 17 were a big help. It came down to the last hole with Nelly leading by 2. Nelly hit her second ball into the crowd behind the green, she chipped out, putted it in close to the hole, and sunk it for a total of 196 (66-66-64).

Then Lexi following in the next group, hit her second ball wide right - she had to sink her chip shot into the hole to tie. It just missed, leaving her one shot from a tie. Nelly put everything she could do to win here, so when it concluded she broke down & cried. (she is a true competitor).

Jason McDede (Nelly's caddie): "We just had to hang in there. We knew it was going to be an all-day affair. For Nelly being #1 again is a testament to how good she is and  how hard she works. I'm proud of her." 

Nelly won $300,000.00 And Lexi nailed  $186,096.00. The Tournament next year will be renamed "The Annika", to honor Annika Sorenstam. She has won 72 L.P.G.A. events & 18 Majors. Annika won over $22 Million in her career. Next year this Tournament will pay the winner $500,000.00. 

The next day Nelly Korda was named the # 1 Lady in Golf.

Korda said "It sure feels good to be on top."  Nelly will be playing with her father Petr Korda 1998-Australian Tennis Champion) in a PNC Orlando Event on Dec 17-18. Tiger Woods will be back with his son, along with last years winners John Daly and his son John Daly II. Charlie Woods at age 13)  is hitting bombs off the tee (220 Yards Plus). Look Out Future.

Lydia Ko (2022/2021 Player of the Year) was born in Seoul, Korea on 4/24/1997. She came to play at the Pelican Club to improve her game & get ready to take a shot at the $ 2 Million dollar first place prize at the the CME in Naples, Florida (the next week). She wanted to play on Florida Bermuda grass here because its the same on the Naples Coarse. She finished 26th here & took home $17,341.00.

In Naples she was outstanding. Lydia (From New Zealand) outlasted Leona Maguire by 2 shots. Ko's yearly total ended up at $4,364,404.00. Nelly Korda took home $83,500.00 for 10th place. Ko: "This year has been special."  I think it has. Lydia has won 25 events and is going to marry Chung Jun (son of the Hyundai V.P), and they have been dating for 2 years. The marriage will be December 30th.       




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