The Korda sisters won the first two events of the LPGA season and are now grouped together for the third tournament along with World No. 1 Jin Young Ko. The star-studded trio tees off at 8:11 a.m. EST in Ocala, Florida. Fans can catch the action live on Golf Channel Thursday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. EST. (Same times for Round 2.)
In fact, all four rounds of the event will be televised live. The weekend coverage will be broadcast from 2:30-5:30 p.m. EST.
Nelly Korda won her fourth LPGA title, and first on American soil, last week at the Gainbridge LPGA, one month after her sister, Jessica, claimed the season-opening Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions. The two sisters were grouped alongside Danielle Kang in the final round of the TOC.
Nelly, 22, moved up to No. 3 in the world after her victory in Orlando. Jessica, 28, dropped down to 18th after a tie for 31st.
A rookie in 2017, Nelly wasn’t yet on the tour the last time the LPGA played at Golden Ocala. The now defunct Coates Golf Championship took place in 2015 (won by Ha Na Jang) and 2016 (won by Na Yeon Choi).
Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club is known for its eight tribute holes, which include No. 4 (Royal Troon No. 8), No. 5 (Muirfield No. 9), No. 6 (Augusta National No. 16), No. 11 (Augusta National No. 12), No. 12 (Augusta National No. 13), No. 13 (Old Course at St. Andrews No. 17), No. 14 (Old Course at St. Andrews No. 1) and No. 15 (Lower Course at Baltusrol No 4).
“I’m like, ‘Wow, one minute I’m in Europe and one minute I’m in Georgia,’ ” said Angel Yin. “So it’s pretty cool to see all of that, because I’ve never played those courses except for Troon. So it would be like, oh, this is number what on Augusta? I was like, Oh, OK, OK … not the real experience but somewhat of an experience.”
Since the LPGA last played at Golden Ocala, the tour has staged a major at Royal Troon (2020) and has majors scheduled for Muirfield (2022), the Old Course (2024) and Baltusrol (KPMG Women’s PGA 2023). In addition, Augusta National now hosts the Augusta National Women’s Amateur, won by Jennifer Kupcho in 2019.
Kupcho famously struck a hybrid from a downhill lie from 211 yards out on the 13th to 6 feet in the final round. She poured in the putt for eagle to pull even with Maria Fassi and eventually won the inaugural event.
Kupcho is in the field this week and will tee off at 7:49 a.m. on Thursday alongside Stacy Lewis and Anna Nordqvist. (Lewis won the AIG Women’s British Open at the Old Course in 2013.)
The 12th at Golden Ocala, patterned after the 13th at Augusta, is this week’s Aon Risk Reward Challenge hole.
“From the back tee I could see how with the right wind it might get downwind and then you can go for it with the comfortable yardage,” said Ally Ewing, “but the back tee for me, I feel like I’m going to take a more comfortable approach and have a wedge shot in.
“The up tee I definitely feel like it’s going to be attainable to go for it.”