Nelly Korda rallies to win her 9th LPGA title, beating Lydia Ko
BRADENTON, Fla. — Nelly KordaThe local LPGA Drive On Championship was won by a woman who rallied. Lydia Ko‘s LPGA Hall of Fame, beating the New Zealander in a playoff on the second green after overcoming an early three-stroke deficit.
Korda’s 3-foot par putt won the match on the par-4 18, after Ko’s 4-footer spun out after it hit the lip.
Korda said, “I seem always to make it dramatic and interesting.” “There is no better feeling to perform in front of your own crowd.” What a great day!
Ko won the season’s opening Tournament of Champions in Orlando last week, her 20th tour win. She is now within one point of qualifying for Hall of Fame.
“It’s like, ‘What can you do’?” Ko said. “We put ourselves in the playoffs by playing our hearts out to the very end.” “I tried my best there.”
Korda began Sunday’s play four strokes ahead of Ko. She shot a 2-over score to match Ko with 11-under 273. Ko, who was in the group that Korda was in, also birdied the par-5 17th hole in a 69.
Korda dropped 4 strokes over a stretch of three holes — a bogey at the par-4 14th hole, a double-bogey at the par-3 15th hole and a triple-bogey at the par-4 16th — before rallying to make an eagle on 17 and a putt on a foot for 18.
Korda said, “Gosh I thought that tournament was over at 17.” “I just gave myself a little bit of a chance.” I knew if I made that eagle, I would have to birdie on the last hole.
On the first additional trip down 18, Korda failed to make a 12-foot attempt for a birdie after Ko got up and down after hitting into the grandstand over the green.
Korda chipped the ball to the wall to set up the winning shot on the second playoff.
“Every victory has a tale,” said Korda. “This one was definitely — just with the struggle of last year and with today, I thought that I completely lost my mind.”
She spoke to Jessica, a fellow tour star, who was about to give birth to her son.
The winner said, “She was like ‘I thought that you were going send me into labour’.”
Ko missed her 30-foot birdie-putt after she three-putted.
Ko said: “Obviously, I made a great eagle on 17, and then Nelly just went eagle as well and then birdied the last.” “I made an eagle of 17, a par on 18, then Nelly went eagle and birdied the last.”
Korda, 25, benefited from the home crowd to lead wire-to-wire in her career for the first time. She won her ninth LPGA Tour title and her first since the Pelican Women’s Championship of 2022.
Korda stated, “I believe that even when I was down, they were so positive and kept me in it.” “It was a real grind, back and forth. I felt like I was never able to get anything going. “I can’t believe what I am seeing right now.”