SAN FRANCISCO — Jessica and Nelly Korda typically play follow rounds collectively however Thursday at the United States Women’s Open was the first time that they had been in the identical grouping for the first two rounds of a serious match. The sisters and their mother and father have been thrilled at the prospect of spending five-and-a-half hours collectively climbing the sloping labyrinth of a course that’s the Olympic Club, the web site of 5 U.S. males’s Opens, in the cool morning murk.
It was a kind of household gatherings that was a a lot better thought in idea than in follow.
Starting on the ninth gap, Jessica, 28, birdied three of her first seven holes to share the early lead with Britain’s Mel Reid earlier than the San Francisco Bay’s bedeviling winds upended her spherical. She carded a one-over-par 72, 5 strokes behind the pacesetter Reid, and spoke afterward as if she had survived a experience on a bucking bronco.
“I’m sore,” she mentioned.
Nelly, 22, the higher-ranked Korda and the top-ranked American at No. 4, seven spots higher than her sister, opened with 4 pars. But three consecutive bogeys, beginning at No. 13, have been the begin of her unraveling. She carded a seven-over-par 78 that was encapsulated by her troubles on her penultimate gap, the seventh.
She needed to hit her strategy shot out of tough thicker than a camel’s eyelash whereas branches from a sapling fir tickled her face and neck. Her caddie, Jason McDede, requested the onlookers lining the proper facet of the gap a number of yards forward of her to maneuver again as a result of, as he mentioned, “We’re not sure where this is going.”
With a compromised swing, Nelly was solely in a position to advance the ball a number of yards. Her subsequent shot discovered a greenside bunker and she walked off the gap together with her head down after a seven-shot triple bogey.
After making an extended putt to avoid wasting par on her final gap, Nelly signed her scorecard and then left in a rush, stopping solely to take selfies with a pair children.
“She’ll be fine,” mentioned Jessica, whose coronary heart ached watching her sister wrestle.
Jessica added: “Obviously I pay attention. It doesn’t matter who I play with, I don’t want anyone to play poorly. It’s tough to watch. You just know how it is. You’ve been in that position yourself. You don’t want anyone struggling with you or around you. So it’s never easy. At the same time, I have to play golf. You have to learn how to be slightly selfish.”
The sisters’ mother and father, Petr and Regina, carved out separate vantage factors in the gallery, converging occasionally to check psychological notes and commiserate. Pandemic-related restrictions restricted the variety of followers allowed on the course to lower than 5,000. A number of hundred of these adopted the Kordas and the third participant of their group, South Korea’s So Yeon Ryu, the 2011 champion, who posted a 74.
Petr yelled encouragement, however as the spherical continued, his voice grew to become tougher to listen to over the wind.
“I think it’s kind of funny because I heard my dad, you can always hear my dad,” Jessica mentioned. “He was telling Nelly, ‘Come on,’ and then like ‘Good birdie’ to me.”
She added, “I think they’re just enjoying watching us out here and trying to strike the balance of being supportive and also uplifting.”
The sisters’ mother and father made a beeline for the clubhouse as quickly as the spherical was completed. Jessica and Nelly each have L.P.G.A. victories this 12 months and they got here into the week anticipating to contend.
“You try not to play yourself out of it,” Jessica mentioned. “Obviously it was so frustrating, making some silly mistakes and then the wind switched and it got warmer so we were trying to figure out how everything was going.”
She added: “I was throwing up grass and it was going one way and then another way so it was a little annoying. But you expect all of this at a U.S. Open.”