They’re siblings, but are at different points in their careers.
Jessica Korda is a seasoned veteran on the LPGA Tour, while younger sister Nelly is a rookie.
Those aren’t the only differences between the two.
Jessica is considered a fierce competitor who’s locked into golf, while Nelly, her coach David Whelan said last fall, has her head in the clouds a bit more. That’s not to say Nelly isn’t a gifted golfer who trains hard at her craft, but it’s a different approach than that of big sis Jessica.
The two even practiced at different courses this past offseason: Jessica at the Concession Golf Club and Nelly at the Ritz-Carlton Members Golf Club.
Now both will try to do something no other sibling combo has accomplished in women’s professional golf: multiple victories by both sisters.
The Kordas, daughters of former tennis tour pro Petr Korda, are the eighth pair of siblings to compete on the LPGA Tour. The most recent were Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn. Annika and Charlotta Sorenstam are the only sisters to record at least one victory each.
Jessica has four career LPGA Tour wins in six seasons; Nelly won on the Symetra Tour en route to earning a promotion to the top circuit last season.
For Jessica, it’s time to elevate her game.
She ranked 24th on last year’s LPGA Tour money list with more than $692,000 in earnings. But that 2016 campaign didn’t yield a victory, although she came close with a runner-up finish at the Blue Bay LPGA in October.
Jessica’s season, which included only four missed cuts, was consistent and a hallmark to solid golf at any level.
To win her first major, Jessica must continue getting better on the greens.
Jessica Korda’s 2016 putts per round average of 30.12 ranked 104th on the LPGA Tour.
She ranked 104th with an average of 30.12 putts per round in 2016. That average putts per round figure was her lowest in six LPGA Tour seasons. With the exception of 2015, Jessica has improved in that category each season. It has to go lower to contend for major championships in 2017. In comparison, the No. 1 ranked player in the world, Lydia Ko, topped the LPGA Tour’s putting stats in 2016 with 28.31 putts per round.
That’s a perfect example of the adage that you drive for show and putt for dough. Putts per greens in regulation indicate birdie conversions, but putts per round showcase the overall scope of putting, whether it’s saving pars with up-and-downs or knocking in birdie bids. Regardless, it’s an area Jessica needs to deliver in to yield more victories against Ko and others.
Meanwhile, Nelly is entering her rookie season on the LPGA Tour after finishing ninth on last year’s Symetra Tour money list. During the season, she earned her first professional victory.
Her first year on the LPGA Tour comes with a built-in advantage over other rookies: She has an older sister that already went through a rookie season and the tour life.
Nelly can pick up advice from Jessica and the two are set to begin their 2017 season this week in the Bahamas. Both tee off on the 10th hole about 30 minutes apart in Thursday’s first round at the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic. The LPGA TOur offers live scoring via its website LPGA.com.
The one similarity between the two is in their games. Both players are sublime ballstrikers, but putting is the key area to improve for continued success.
Nelly ranked 48th on the Symetra Tour in putting average, averaging 30.35 putts per round. That’s not a recipe for success on the LPGA Tour.
While the two siblings are at different stages of their careers, the time is now for the Kordas to put their stamp on women’s golf and become the pre-eminent sister duo women’s golf.
Sisters on the LPGA Tour (bold indicates locals)
- 1950: Alice Bauer and Marlene Bauer Hagge, 26 total wins
- 1965, 68: Donna Caponi, Janet Caponi LePera, 24 total wins
- 1988, 93: Danielle and Dina Ammaccapane, 7 total wins
- 1994, 97: Annika and Charlotta Sorenstam, 73 total wins
- 2004, 05: Aree and Naree Song, 0 total wins
- 2004, 12: Russy and Numa Gulyanamitta, 0 total wins
- 2013, 15: Moriya and Ariya Jutanugarn, 5 total wins
- 2011, 17: Jessica and Nelly Korda, 4 total wins
Source: LPGA Tour