Golf: Jessica Korda wins playoff, takes Tournament of Champions title

The win marked Korda's first since the 2018 Honda LPGA Thailand. PHOTO: AFP

ORLANDO (REUTERS) - Jessica Korda followed up a sizzling 60 on Saturday with a playoff win over Danielle Kang on Sunday (Jan 24) to capture her sixth career LPGA Tour victory at the Tournament of Champions at Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

She carded a final-round 66 to go five under par on the day and tie Kang at 24-under 260 for the tournament, then drained a long birdie putt on the par-three 18th in the first hole of the play-off to seal the victory.

For 27-year-old Korda, who became the sixth LPGA golfer to record a 60 or lower on Saturday, the win marked her first since the 2018 Honda LPGA Thailand and the fourth time she has won in her season debut.

After a slight bobble with a bogey at No. 3, she was able to gain some ground with back-to-back birdies on Nos. 6 and 7. She found her groove on the back with four birdies over five holes on Nos. 13-17, then waited for Kang to finish to see if extra holes were necessary.

It was undoubtedly a disappointing finish for Kang, who started the day with a two-shot lead and seemed primed for a low score when she carded a birdie at the first. She racked up two more birdies at Nos. 7 and 14 but then made her first bogey of the week - as well as her first three-putt - at the 15th. She rebounded with a birdie at No. 17 and made a testing four-footer for par at No. 18 to force the play-off.

"I really didn't have a high today," said Kang, who lamented the little prep time she had prior to the tournament. "I hit one good shot that I really liked was on the 12th. I mean, that was my first solid shot.

"That last actually play-off hole shot was awesome. ... (The) last three days were, you know, more comfortable and it was easier, but today when it comes down to it, when I had to execute, I just didn't have the time behind me in it."

Korda's younger sister, Nelly, who was paired with the leaders in the final round, fired a bogey-free 64 to finish alone in third at 22 under. Rounding out the top five were South Korea's Chun In-Gee, who shot 67 and finished at 17 under, while Angela Stanford (65) and Cheyenne Knight (66) finished tied for fifth at 16 under.

Defending champion Gaby Lopez (71) of Mexico finished with a 69 to tie for 11th place at 11 under.

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