Korda overpowers field with jaw-dropping win

American golfer Jessica Korda (right) celebrates winning the Honda LPGA Thailand tournament with her sister Nelly at the Siam Country Club in the Thai coastal province of Chonburi yesterday.
American golfer Jessica Korda (right) celebrates winning the Honda LPGA Thailand tournament with her sister Nelly at the Siam Country Club in the Thai coastal province of Chonburi yesterday.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

CHONBURI (Thailand) • Talk about a jaw-dropping performance from Jessica Korda.

On Friday, the American broke the Siam Country Club course record with a 10-under 62. She followed that up yesterday with a closing 67 to shatter the Honda LPGA Thailand 72-hole record with a 25-under 263 and claim a commanding win.

Thai Moriya Jutanugarn (67) finished second on 267 alongside American Lexi Thompson (64), who remained within touching distance of China's Feng Shanshan's world No. 1 ranking.

"I can't believe it, today was such a blur, I was just trying to make birdies. I tried to relax, but I was nervous," Korda told LPGA.com.

"This was my first event, my rookie year. I played really, really well this week."

After a somewhat uneven start with two birdies and a bogey, she was flawless on the back nine, sinking four birdies including a 25-footer on the 17th hole to notch her fifth career title and first since the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia in October 2015.

  • KORDA'S WEEK IN NUMBERS

  • 270 Yards off the tee.

    27.25 Putts per round.

    28 Birdies (25) and eagles.

Korda turns 25 tomorrow and this was her first tournament since last November's CME Group Tour Championship. A month later, she underwent major jaw surgery to fix persistent, painful headaches. That left 27 screws in her mouth.

Despite the lack of practice - Korda was able to hit balls only in the middle of January - she overpowered the field at the US$1.6 million (S$2.1 million) event in Chonburi.

She averaged nearly 270 yards off the tee and needed only 109 putts as she racked up 25 birdies and three eagles during the week.

Her sister Nelly finished in a tie for 14th. Moriya was within two strokes of Korda but a bogey on the 12th hole halted her charge.

Australia's Minjee Lee closed with a 69 and was third on 270. A further stroke back in joint fifth were Feng (66) and Moriya's younger sister Ariya (69).

Feng needed to finish inside the top five to hold on to the top spot for a 16th straight week.

The LPGA Tour moves on to Singapore for this week's HSBC Women's World Championship at Sentosa's New Tanjong course.

South Koreans have dominated the event in recent years, with Jang Ha Na's win in 2016 sandwiched by former world No. 1 Park In Bee's triumphs in 2015 and last year.

Before that, Americans Angela Stanford (2012), Stacy Lewis (2013) and Paula Creamer (2014) had claimed the previous three editions.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 26, 2018, with the headline 'Korda overpowers field with jaw-dropping win'. Print Edition | Subscribe