After eagle-birdie end, Korda beats Ko in playoff at LPGA Drive On

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By Calvin S. Nelson

BRADENTON, Fla, — Nelly Korda rallied to win her hometown LPGA Drive On Championship and delay Lydia Ko’s LPGA Corridor of Fame entry, outlasting the New Zealander on the second gap of a playoff after overcoming a three-stroke deficit with an eagle-birdie end.

Korda gained with a 4-foot par putt on the par-4 18th after Ko’s 5-footer caught the lip and spun out.

“I appear to at all times make it very dramatic and attention-grabbing,” Korda stated. “So, there is no such thing as a higher feeling than to do it in entrance of a house crowd. What a day!”

Ko gained the season-opening Event of Champions final week at dwelling in Orlando for her twentieth tour victory to maneuver inside a degree of qualifying for the Corridor of Fame.

“It’s form of like, ‘What are you able to do?’” Ko stated. “We performed our hearts out till the very finish and we put ourself into the playoff. I attempted my greatest on the market.”

4 strokes forward of Ko starting play Sunday at Bradenton Nation Membership, Korda shot a 2-over 73 to match Ko at 11-under 273. Ko, taking part in within the group forward of Korda, additionally eagled the par-5 seventeenth in a 69.

Korda dropped 4 strokes in a three-hole stretch — making a bogey on the par-4 14th, a double bogey on the par-3 fifteenth and a bogey on the par-4 sixteenth — earlier than rallying with the eagle putt throughout the inexperienced on 17 and an method to a foot on 18.

“Gosh, I believed that the match was over going into 17,” Korda stated. “I simply form of gave myself an opportunity. I knew that if I rolled that eagle in I needed to birdie the final.”

On the primary further journey down 18, Korda missed a 12-foot birdie attempt from the again fringe after Ko obtained up-and-down for par after hitting to the grandstand wall over the inexperienced.

On the second playoff gap, Korda went lengthy to the wall and chipped to arrange the successful putt. Ko three-putted after leaving her 30-foot birdie putt quick.

“Clearly, I three-putted the second playoff gap, however aside from that I don’t really feel like I misplaced the match,” Ko stated. “I made an incredible eagle on 17, nice par on 18, after which Nelly simply went eagle as properly after which birdied the final.”

Feeding off the house crowd, the 25-year-old Korda led wire-to-wire for the primary time in her profession en path to her ninth LPGA Tour victory and first for the reason that 2022 Pelican Ladies’s Championship.

“I believe even after I was down they had been so, so optimistic and holding me in it,” Korda stated. “It was such a grind on the market, so backwards and forwards. I felt like I by no means actually obtained something going. I simply can’t even imagine it proper now.”

Megan Khang was third at 8 below after a 72. Lucy Li (69) and Ayaka Furue (73) had been 7 below.

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