Korda makes flying start at British Open

Carnoustie (United Kingdom) (AFP) –


Olympic champion and world number one Nelly Korda set the clubhouse lead with an opening five-under par round at the Women’s British Open at Carnoustie on Thursday.

Winner of her first major at the LPGA Championship in June and gold at the Tokyo Games this month, Korda continued her glorious summer with eight birdies in a round of 67.

Korda finished in style with back-to-back birdies and shared the early lead with Sweden’s Madelene Sangstrom.

The 23-year-old had ducked out of her pre-tournament press conference, but said there was nothing sinister about the decision as she instead spent more time on the driving range.

“It has been a long couple of weeks and I had to play in a Pro-am,” she explained. “I wasn’t hitting it all that well and wanted to spend time on the range. I was really, really tired.”

But there was nothing weary about her golf in the first round of the season’s fifth and final major.

“It was a bit drizzly but there wasn’t too much wind so I could be aggressive,” she added. “I’ve not played much links golf so I picked the brains of (2004 Champion) Karen Staples.

“She was out on the course as part of the Golf Channel team and she told me to miss the fairway bunkers. On links courses, sometimes it is better to have a longer club into the green.”

Korda shrugged off the expectations on her shoulders as the new star of women's golf following her success this year.

“Nothing has really changed," she said. "I still feel like a little girl playing golf."