Mar 1st, 2021
Korda claims fourth LPGA title
American wins Gainbridge LPGA by three shots
Photography: Getty Images
“It was just the stress, honestly. I was so uptight and stressed today. It may not have looked that way, but if you just heard my conversations with my caddie today you would've known how stressed I was because I was not hitting it well. I didn't feel very good. I just grinded through it. Today was honestly a grind,” said Korda, who carded a bogey-free 69 to finish at sixteen-under-par.
“Honestly, I was pretty uneasy all day. I was not hitting it good. I was not hitting enough greens. I was not hitting it great off the tee. I just kept it together.”
Korda, who was the overnight leader, started with three birdies on her front nine. She followed it up with twelve straight pars including a crucial par save on the par-five 15th hole, the week’s Aon Risk Reward Challenge hole. After the ball rolled down the green and off, Korda chipped just a few feet from the pin and exhaled a sigh of relief when her putt barely stayed in the hole.
“I just had to laugh because that was absurd. It was insane that it went in and a little bit of luck, too,” said Korda.
The win is Korda’s first on American soil, and her first professional win in front of her parents. It’s the second time in LPGA Tour history that sisters have won consecutive events (her sister, Jessica, won the season’s opening Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champion). The first was Annika and Charlotta Sorenstam in 2000; Annika won the Welch’s/Circle K Championship on March 13 and Charlotta won the Standard Register PING on March 19.
“It's amazing. If we can follow in their footsteps, in Annika's footsteps, that would be absurd,” said Korda. “It just feels amazing to pull off a win, especially in front of family. It's actually kind of funny because Jess won the week of my dad's birthday and I won the week of Jess'.”
Korda’s win comes just months after tweaking her back during the 2020 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and having to withdraw, then taking two months off from events to recover for the U.S. Women’s Open and the CME Group Tour Championship. It’s been a process, but one Korda is grateful for.
Starting in the penultimate grouping, Lexi Thompson carded her third-straight 68 to finish in a tie for second with Lake Nona resident Lydia Ko at thirteen-under. Thompson’s round included an eagle at the 11th hole, where she said she felt the momentum started.
“The eagle was definitely a good little boost to get somewhat up there. I knew what she was at making the turn, so I knew I kind of had to make a run. I just tried to stay within my game and focus on one shot at a time, and that definitely helped,” said Thompson.
“I bogeyed the next hole, but I just tried to stay in it and birdie coming in.”
World number one, Jin Young Ko ended the day at eleven-under for sole ownership of fourth, her fourth consecutive top-five finish, dating back to the 2020 Volunteers of America Classic.
Sarah Kemp finished in a tie for fifth with 2020/21 LPGA Tour rookie, Patty Tavatanakit at ten-under. Her result is her second-best of her Tour career, with her best a joint second finish at the 2019 ISPS Handa Vic Open.
Angel Yin, who started the day ten-under and in a tie for third, struggled on the final day, carding three double bogeys and five birdies to record a 73 and finish in seventh.
Annika Sorenstam capped off her first appearance on Tour since 2008 with a final-round 76, and finished in 74th at thirteen-over.
“You know, I'm just thankful for being here, playing here and be able to make the cut. I think overall it's been quite successful in the sense that I accomplished what I wanted, which was to go out here and just play and play and play. I hit a lot of shots, but I really focused on every shot,” said Sorenstam.
“I think I never gave up, even though it was not really going my way and I wasn't hitting as well as I should be to be out here. The purpose was to get some tournament rounds and I did that.
“I would say I'm quite tired, I'm exhausted. I gave it all. Takes a lot of effort when you miss greens and chip around these greens is really, really difficult. So put a lot of energy into that and obviously just with everybody around it's been fantastic. It really has. The more I think about it, and once it sinks in I think it's going to be a big smile on my face.”