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“I’ve said it so many times, but it's just been such a rollercoaster. I mean, I guess that's life though. There has been more downs than ups this year I think, and I think that that's what makes this so much sweeter to me,” said Korda, who suffered a dangerous blood clot early in the year that forced her to take a break from the game. “With the way my game was as well in the last two LPGA starts that I had, I didn't think that I maybe had the confidence that I was going to win.
But I had a good solid couple of weeks, and I told myself, step by step. I had good memories on this golf course. I was home. I had the
comfort level of my parents being in the crowd, too, which plays a part.”
This is the Florida native’s first come-from-behind victory on Tour, having been the leader or co-leader heading into the final round of every previous victory, even at the Tokyo Olympics. This is also Korda’s second time successfully defending a title – she won the Taiwan Swinging Skirts LPGA in 2018 and 2019 but at two different courses. With her win, the 24-year-old is projected to move to No. 1 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings for the third time in her career, an achievement she didn’t know was possible until after her final round concluded.
“I've never been a player that's kind of looked at the rankings too much. I've always said that good golf and enjoying myself out there and playing to the best of my ability kind of solves all that,” said Korda, who most recently held the World No. 1 title from Nov. 8, 2021, to Jan. 30, 2022. “Obviously going through what I've been through this year and regaining that World No. 1 ranking is really special as well. I've heard somewhere that it's a really tight race; everyone has had an amazing year. I think for me, I just appreciate it a lot more.”
Korda started the day at -8, two strokes behind second-round leader Allisen Corpuz after shooting twin 66s during the opening rounds. She made a birdie right of the bat on No. 1 then found two more on holes seven and eight to make the turn at -11, two strokes behind Thompson.
With Thompson carding bogeys at 11 and 12, Korda briefly took the solo lead at -13 with a birdie at No. 13. But Thompson, playing one group behind Korda, made a birdie of her own at No. 13 to join Korda at the top. Korda finally took a lead she would never relinquish with birdies on 16 and 17. After Korda bogeyed No. 18 from off the back of the green, Thompson put her approach on the front edge of the final green and could not convert the tying chip.
“(18’s) definitely not the easiest hole. I was in between clubs there. I was in between a 7-iron and a 6-iron. I literally had the same number I had in the playoff last year,” explained Korda, who defeated Thompson and two others on the first playoff hole to earn the victory in 2021. “(Jason McDede, her caddie) and I kind of laughed about that, but if I hit the same club I would've been in the water. I just told myself, I'm going to go long. I'm going to try to hit the green, but long is going to be my miss… You don't want to win on a bogey, but I played really solid golf throughout the entire day and just took the loss there.”
This is Thompson’s fourth runner-up finish of the 2022 season and 18th top-10 finish without a win, the most of any player on the Tour. With her third-place finish, rookie Corpuz earned her third top-10 result of the year after leading for the first time in her career after Saturday’s second round. Three players tied for fourth, including rookie Morgane Metraux, whose finish pushed her into the top-100 in the Race to the CME Globe and secured her priority status for 2023. Ally Ewing and Lizette Salas, both 2022 LPGA champions, finished T7 along with first-round leader Maria Fassi. Rounding out the top-10 were past LPGA Tour winners Leona Maguire, Matilda Castren and Maja Stark.
Rolex Rankings No. 3 Nelly Korda (66-66-64)
Article Source: LPGA Tour
Main image credit: Douglas P. DeFelice Getty Images