Sunday, January 11, 2015



Championship committee chairman Carol Semple Thompson (left) with winner Nelly Korda.
with additional words by Colin Farquharson 
Sebring, Florida On another beautiful, partly sunny and cool day, 16-year-old Nelly Korda, sister of LPGA Tour player Jessica, overtook Wake Forest University fourth-year student Allison Emrey to win the 60th Harder Hall Women’s Invitational by three strokes.
Korda, of Bradenton, Florida, made three birdies in the last five holes to shoot three-under 69 for a total of three-over-par 291, a great effort, considering she earned a potentially demoralising two-stroke penalty at the very first hole on Wednesday for having a caddie, which is not permitted under the competition rules.
 Emrey finished second after a final round 75 for 294.
Third on 295 was Samantha Wagner of Orlando, Florida, who posted the only other under-par final round today with a  71.
Renowned coach David Leadbetter's daughter Hally finished just outside the top 10 in joint 12th position with a final round of 74 for 307.
Scottish Under-21 girls' open champion India Clyburn (Woodhall Spa) from Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire finished T16 on 310 with a last-day round of 78.
Defending champion and former USA Curtis Cup player Meghan Stasi shot a final round of 76 for 314 and a share of 21st place with 15-year-old GB and I Junior Vagliano Trophy team player Sammy Fuller (Roehampton GC) from Kingston-upon-Thames.
Sammy closed with a disappointing 85 which saw her drop out of the top 20. She had been in the top 10 at the end of the first day.
All of Sammy's other rounds were in the 70s.
Sammy's 12-year-old little sister Annabel finished T6 in the First Flight. She did very well with a last-round 78 for 326. 
In the Forever Forty-Nine Division Lisa Schlesinger of Laytonsville, Maryland, shot a final round 78, for a 317 total to overtake third-round leader Martha Leach and win by two shots.

In the Ben Roman Division, which concluded Friday after three rounds, Pat Hughes-Gelardi of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida captured the title in the Marge Burns Flight by one stroke over Clate Aydlett with a three-round total score of 260.  
Other flight winners included: 
Tish Preuss Flight - Mary Rhodes – 266
Lancy Smith Flight - Teresa Hudson – 288. 


Par 288 (4x72)
291 Nelly Korda 74 75 73 69
294 Allison Emrey 71 74 74 75
295 Samantha Wagner 74 76 74 71
297 Kaitlyn Papp 72 75 77 73, Lori Beth Adams 75 74 74 74
298 Kelly Grassell 77 71 75 75
301 Victoria Morgan 75 73 75 78
302 Emmy Martin 78 74 75 75, Jessican Porvasnik 77 77 72 76
304 Kendall Griffin 78 77 73 76

307 Hally Leadbetter (USA/England) 76 78 79 74 (T12)
310 India Clyburn (England) 80 79 73 78 (T16)
314 Meghan Stasi 80 80 78 76, Sammy Fuller (England) 78 74 77 85 (T21)

317 Lisa Schlesinger 81 83 75 78
319 Rachel Carpenter 81 83 75 80

326 Annabel Fuller (England) 86 80 82 78 (T6)

326 Susan Cavanagh 84 87 77 78
331 Grace Henderson 82 92 77 80

342 Carol Semple Thompson 86 85 88 83 (10th)




By Beth Ann Nichols
SEBRING, Florida – Nelly Korda began the 60th Harder Hall Women’s Invitational with a two-stroke penalty on the first hole for using father, Petr, as caddie. Caddies were banned several years ago at the event and Korda, a Harder Hall newbie, missed the memo.
The 16-year-old was so distraught by the unforced error on Wednesday that she three-putted the second hole with shaky hands.
Korda, younger sister to LPGA star Jessica, rebounded to shoot 74 and, three days later, won the title by three strokes over Wake Forest University senior Allison Emrey. 
Korda birdied three of the last five holes to shoot 69 on Saturday and finish the tournament at 3-over 291.
“Next week is Sally (South Atlantic Amateur) so I’m going to try to win that, too,” said Korda.
Then she’ll rub it in. Jessica, a three-time winner on the LPGA, won the 2010 Sally but never hoisted the trophy in Sebring.
While Nelly considers overcoming that first-round penalty to be the toughest task of the week, she gave her father a few gray hairs on the 71st hole when she went for the green in two with a hybrid and caught it heavy.
At the time, Nelly held a two-stroke lead over Emrey, who had 14 feet left for birdie.
“I actually felt like it hit that good,” said Nelly. “I was so surprised it came out a chunk.”
She then proceeded to show great maturity by getting up and down from 64 yards for par to maintain her two-stroke lead up the 18th.
The 5-foot-10-inch blonde pounded a drive some 50 yards ahead of her competitors down the last, making birdie to finish off the event in style.
“I’m so proud of her,” said Jessica, who made sure to give Nelly grief over the phone for going for a par 5 in two with a two-stroke lead.
Nelly, the shortest person in the Korda family, has grown into nearly all her sister’s clothes. She’s so proud of the Adidas hand-me-downs that she took off a jacket after the round to show off her sister’s name, stitched above the tags.
“I love it,” said Nelly, beaming.
Jessica, who lives seven houses down from her parents, not only allows her little sister to borrow anything in her closet, she also gave Nelly her car when she turned 16 (And has yet to replace it).
Father Petr, a Grand Slam tennis champ who walks a mile ahead when he spectates, has worked hard not to over-golf his two girls. Jessica spent many summers in Europe as a young girl. Nelly took it slow as well, though last summer’s long layoff was not by choice.
An undeveloped back muscle and heavy clubs led to lower back pain so severe that she took off four months from the game in 2014. Nelly, winner of the 2014 Kathy Whitworth Invitational, was disappointed to be left out of Junior Ryder Cup competition and the USGA events she had qualified for thanks to making the cut in the 2013 U.S. Women’s Open.
The two sisters talked often during the forced break. Nelly worried she’d never be able to play golf again at a high level.
“She was really afraid,” said Jessica.
Nelly rehabbed her back and worked hard to build muscle that wasn’t firing in her swing. She also began working with David Whelan, Paula Creamer’s longtime instructor.
“Now is the time to show us you really care,” Jessica told her sister.
While home for the LPGA offseason, Jessica tried to create a lot of pressure situations for Nelly, who hasn’t played nearly as much tournament golf as most of her AJGA counterparts.
“She’s a tough cookie,” said Petr, who couldn’t have been more pleased to see Nelly’s tears from 2014 replaced with a broad smile.
Jessica isn’t sure which path she will take going forward. 
College is an option, but she could go straight to the pros like her hero, big sis.
Nelly has been playing golf since she could walk, lashing around with a plastic set. She had her first lesson at age 6 and won the first tournament she ever played - in the Czech Republic - at age 9. Oddly, she won a bottle of champagne for the effort.
Nelly has wanted to compete on the LPGA since she watched Jessica finish tied for 19th in the 2008 U.S. Women’s Open.
“I’ve always wanted to travel the world and play golf like my sister,” said Nelly.
Today the confident teen took one step closer to that goal.