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Nelly Korda’s Hopes Shattered as She Cards a 10 on Par-3 at U.S. Women’s Open

In a shocking turn of events at the U.S. Women’s Open on Thursday, Nelly Korda, the world’s No. 1 female golfer, saw her championship hopes all but vanish early in the first round. Korda’s nightmare began at the par-3 12th hole at Lancaster Country Club, where she shockingly recorded a septuple-bogey 10, a score that dramatically altered her trajectory in the tournament.

Starting her round on the back nine, Korda, the overwhelming favorite coming into the event, began with a bogey on the par-4 10th hole. She managed to par the 11th, but then disaster struck at the 12th. The 161-yard hole, known for its challenging downhill layout and a stream that guards the green, proved to be her undoing.

Korda’s tee shot sailed over the green and landed in a back bunker. From there, she splashed out of the sand with too much force, sending the ball past the pin and down the slope into the water. After taking a penalty drop, her next shot again found the water. Another drop and another shot saw the same fate, with the ball rolling back into the stream. By the time she managed to get her ball on the green, Korda was hitting her eighth shot. She finally completed the hole with a missed putt, tapping in for a 10.

Visibly stunned, Korda dropped into a crouch, her head in her hands as she realized the enormity of her error. The scorecard, initially showing a modest “+1”, was altered to a daunting “+8”. This devastating start at the U.S. Women’s Open put her championship aspirations in serious jeopardy.

“I just didn’t really want to shoot 80, and I just kept making bogeys,” Korda said after her round. “I’m human. 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.”

Korda’s early struggles were compounded by difficult course conditions. Lancaster Country Club’s setup was already proving tough for the field, with birdies hard to come by and the 12th hole playing nearly a full shot over par for most of the competitors.

Despite her disastrous start, Korda attempted to steady her game. She played her second nine in even par, recording birdies on the 3rd, 7th, and 8th holes, offset by bogeys on the 5th, 6th, and 9th. However, her round ended with a 10-over 80, leaving her tied for 149th place in the 156-player field.

Her score at the 12th hole evoked memories of other infamous meltdowns in golf history, such as Jordan Spieth’s quadruple bogey at the 12th hole during the 2016 Masters. The pressure and high expectations that Korda carried into the tournament only magnified the impact of her missteps.

Before the U.S. Women’s Open, Korda had been on an impressive winning streak, capturing six titles in her last seven starts, including the year’s first major, the Chevron Championship. Her dominant performance made her the favorite to contend for a calendar-year Grand Slam, a feat now out of reach due to her monumental struggles at Lancaster.

Korda’s only two top-10 finishes in the U.S. Women’s Open prior to this year underscore the difficulty of the tournament, often regarded as the toughest test in women’s golf due to its demanding course setups. The challenging conditions and the pressure of being the top-ranked player clearly took a toll on her performance.

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