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Oct 11th, 2021

Jin Young Ko wins Cognizant Founders Cup

Wire-to-wire title defense for world number two

Just more than two years after she won the 2019 Cognizant Founders Cup, Rolex Rankings number two Jin Young Ko successfully defended that title, routing the field for a wire-to-wire, eighteen-under par performance at the 2021 edition, held at Mountain Ridge Country Club in West Caldwell, N.J.

With the win, Ko joined World number one Nelly Korda as the season’s only three-time winners, with Ko previously taking victories at the Volunteers of America Classic and the Cambia Portland Classic.
Ko also ties Annika Sorenstam (2005) and So Yeon Ryu (2016 into 2017) with 14 consecutive rounds in the 60s, and became the fifth player from the Republic of Korea to reach double-digit wins in LPGA Tour history, joining Se Ri Pak (25), Inbee Park (21), Sei Young Kim (12) and Jiyai Shin (11).
“This win is my 10th career win, so this is really special. Two years ago I won this tournament, and I waited since the two years from the original to here,” said Ko. “I got a lot of the pressure on the course. I knew I'm defending champion and I knew like 60s score beat Annika's (and So Yeon’s) record and wire to wire, so I had a lot of pressure on the course today.”

On a day with constant light drizzle and temperatures that never topped 65, Ko showed no sign of that pressure. She carded birdies at 6, 8, 12, 13, 15 and 16, with one irritating bogey on No. 17 keeping her from a clean scorecard. Entering the day with a four-stroke lead and riding a wave of strong play, Ko never felt the need to keep an eye on what her competitors were doing ahead of her.
“I didn't look at the scoreboard whole way, whole day, and I just check the scoreboard on the 18th green,” said Ko, who returns to Korea tomorrow after four consecutive weeks of LPGA Tour play.
“My caddie told me, ‘Did you notice?’ No. Yeah, I made it, and I'm so happy right now.”

If Ko had looked at the leaderboard, she would have seen Germany’s Caroline Masson returning her lowest round of the season. She dropped in seven birdies for a bogey-free 64, her best round since the 2018 Indy Women in Tech Championship. She finished in solo second at -14, four strokes behind Ko, her best finish since the 2019 Taiwan Swinging Skirts LPGA.
“I can't tell you how big this is. It's been a little bit rough this summer. Honestly, like mentally it was a really, really tough stretch, probably the toughest in my career,” said Masson.
“So to come back out and have a good week last week and feel like I'm getting really close, you know, I know I'm pretty far away from winning this week score-wise, but it was pretty close. Pretty amazing.”

Elizabeth Szokol rounded out the top three at eleven-under, with U.S. Women’s Open champions Jeongeun Lee6 and Yuka Saso finished tied for fifth at ten-under.

TAGS: LPGA Tour, Cognizant Founders Cup, Jin Young Ko, Caroline Masson, Elizabeth Szokol, 2021