Jessica Korda handles missing luggage with strong start at Women’s Open

It is difficult enough to negotiate the vagaries of Muirfield without the associated hassle of doing it in borrowed attire. Jessica Korda’s opening 66 at the Women’s Open was worthy of extra credit given her luggage remains trapped in Zurich airport.

So what precisely is Korda missing? “Other than my clothes? Sponsor’s hats,” she explained. “I am wearing a Muirfield hat right now. I have some great partners and it’s tough because you play well and you’re obviously in the hunt but you can’t wear their branding. Plus a lot of my warm stuff; my hand warmers. My hands get really cold so I wear gloves all the time. I’ve got a lot of heat patches for my lower back and my vitamins, don’t have that either.

“On Monday I wore Megan Khang’s pants. Tuesday, I wore my sister’s [Nelly Korda] pants and Wednesday I wore Alison Lee’s pants. Today I’m wearing FootJoy pants.

“I gave up on it by Wednesday. If it comes here, great, but if not, it is what it is. At this point I’m playing a golf tournament. FootJoy sent me a bunch of clothes and we just tried to figure it out from there.”

The highlight of Korda’s round was a converted 20ft eagle putt at the 17th. She loves the battle associated with links golf. “It’s really fun but really stressful,” added the 29-year-old. “Definitely would like to not have to put a score together but it’s fun to be able to hit different shots. I’m aiming so far left or so far right of like my actual finishing line which is not something I do obviously on a weekly basis. So there’s a lot of trust in my golf game.”

Japan’s Hinako Shibuno, who won this event in 2019, strode to the top of the leaderboard courtesy of a six-under-par 65. Just two adrift is Scotland’s Louise Duncan, who is playing in only her second professional event. A year ago, Duncan tied 10th in the Women’s Open as an amateur. Last week, the 22-year-old missed the cut on her professional debut at the Scottish Open.

“I just wanted to go out and enjoy it,” Duncan said. “Don’t take it too seriously. I got a wee bit down on myself last week. It was obvious. My head was down. I just wasn’t in a good mood.”