There are some golfers – male and female but more so the former – who moan about their injuries as a ready excuse for failure but it is not in the defending ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open champion Jessica Korda’s nature.
The soon-to-be 20-year-old American played through intense pain in her left elbow and numbness in two fingers in her left hand along the way to a four-over par 77 third round around the Royal Canberra layout on Saturday and all that remained was the formality of Sunday’s round to end an unsuccessful defence.
On Sunday, she fired a four-under par 69 to finish at seven under the tournament, but at least the feeling was returning to her fingers though the pain remained in the elbow.
She’d rung her father Petr Korda, the 1998 Australian Open tennis champion, in the US on Saturday just to fill him on the reason for her indifference on course earlier in the day.
A stoic soul, she’d hoped news of the injury wouldn’t become public but, well, golfers – and caddies especially – do have an inclination to gossip.
“I think I played really solid for three days and yesterday 77 yesterday was just a little disappointing,” she said when asked of her defence.
We then asked of the gossip.
“I was hoping that wouldn’t get out,” she replied. “You know I was in the trees a lot yesterday on the front nine and just hit a shot and kind of pinched a nerve in my elbow and I played the last 12-13 holes without in any feeling in two of my fingers.
“So it was a little tough, but I kept grinding it out, I didn’t let that stop me. I had them taped up, but I was really hoping none of this would get out, but that’s okay.
“It was a round that started with poor ball striking and it just went on from there.”
In truth, she can’t remember the specific shot – just the aftermath.
“I just don’t know, to be honest. I hyper-mobile as it is so whatever a normal person can do, I can do three times more – which is awful at times,” Korda said.
Her elbow was taped on Sunday, so too the two affected fingers, and she believed all will be well for the next two weeks of the LPGA Tour in Thailand and Singapore.
Of the year ahead, she said: “The last two events (she played our Ladies Masters two weeks ago before spending the following week playing socially in Melbourne with former Australian tour player Mike Clayton before coming to Canberra) I played pretty solid golf apart from yesterday’s round, and I’m just looking to be more consistent which I feel I can be. My game is at that level where I can be confident with what ever I’m doing. I am excited to see what the next two weeks will bring.”
So, it is fond farewell to a delightful young lady for another year – and happy 20th birthday on February 27.