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Korda aims to stretch winning streak to four

NELLY Korda guns for her fourth consecutive title when she competes in the LPGA Match Play at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas. | CHRISTIAN PETERSEN/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LOS ANGELES (AFP) — World No. 1 Nelly Korda will try to stretch her win streak to four events at the LPGA Match Play, which starts on Wednesday under a revamped format.

A field of 96 players will compete at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas as the tournament moves beyond a match-play event to a hybrid starting with stroke play from Wednesday through Friday, with the top eight players after 54 holes advancing to a weekend match-play competition.

Quarterfinals and semifinals will be contested on Saturday ahead of Sunday’s championship match.

“Worry about stroke play. We have three days of it,” Korda said.

“I know there’s a cut after two days and just eight girls get in, so definitely going to have to play some solid golf. Taking it more stroke play and hopefully get into the match play part of it.”

Reigning Olympic champion Korda, the daughter of former tennis star Petr Korda, won her 11th career LPGA Tour title, and third in as many starts, at last week’s Ford Championship.

Korda began her run in January’s Drive On Championship in her hometown of Bradenton, Florida, then backed it up with a victory at last month’s Seri Pak Championship.

“I’m super proud of the events that I’ve played and the hard work that my team and I have put in to get those victories,” Korda said Tuesday.

“At the end of the day, it’s tough when you win first two out of three events in a row where you kind of can’t kind of think about it too much. You have to process what you’ve done but then you have to get ready for the next week.”

Korda has practiced for two days on a layout she had never played before.

“Had the day on Sunday afternoon, my five-hour drive, to process the win and had to get ready,” she said. “Just trying to stay very much so in the moment.”

It’s Korda’s best streak since she won four times in 2021.

“The past two weeks everything has just kind of clicked a little bit more,” Korda said.

“Even my mistakes I’ve made the right mistakes in a sense.”

“And just playing really smart. Just not taking too much risk on. I feel like even in ‘21 I played really, really well. Even last year I had little glimpses of me playing really well, but I wasn’t consistent enough to get the win.”

This week’s $2 million event is the last tune-up ahead of the year’s first women’s major event, the Chevron Championship in two weeks.

Other top players in the field include France’s third-ranked Celine Boutier, Minjee Lee of Australia, New Zealand’s Lydia Ko and Kim Hyo-joo of South Korea.

Thailand’s Pajaree Anannarukarn is back to defend her title.

“It’s always nice to be back to where it holds such a special place in your heart,” she said.

“The strategy is just do my game, focus on what I can control.”

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