Jun 28th, 2021
Nelly Korda claims her first major title
American wins KMPG Women's PGA Championship in Atlanta
Words: GolfPunk Photography: PGA of America
Korda's sixth LPGA title also moved her to number one in the world, the first American to hold that position since Stacey Lewis in 2014. Nelly will join sister Jessica; also a six-time LPGA Tour winner, at the Olympics in Tokyo and there is a chance tennis-playing brother Seb will make it there as well.
"That has a lovely ring to it, not going to lie," Korda said on being introduced to the media as a major champion. "It's been amazing, honestly."
"The past few days, the battle with Lizette, it's been a lot of fun. It's been stressful. I think it's had everything. But I just can't believe it. I'm still in shock."
As expected, it was a showdown between the two overnight leaders Korda and Lizette Salas who began the day tied on fifteen-under, five clear of the field. Ultimately the power advantage Korda had, she consistently outdrove Salas by as much as 40 yards.
Korda carded two eagles in her four-under 68 to finish on nineteen under for the event three clear of Salas, who closed with a 71.
"I pretty much dominated a lot of the par-5s," Korda said.
"I hit the ball really well, putted my putts. I just honestly -- everything was on, and when you look back on weeks like this, it's really special, and you don't take it for granted. I'm really grateful for all the work and for my family constantly pushing me."
Salas stayed with Korda trailing by just one shot as the pair entered the back nine. However, a turning point came at the long 12th where Salas had to lay up as Korda hit her second to around eight feet.
Salas made a bogey after flying the green with her third into the back bunker and could only make bogey. When Korda converted her eagle putt, it was a three-shot swing and a four-shot lead. Despite a scare at the 15th where Korda found the water, she closed out the win with solid par golf.
"I'm extremely proud," said Salas, who also was runner-up in the 2019 AIG Women's Open.
"We came in with a goal and I think we exceeded it. When things weren't going my way, I still said, I'm okay. There's just a lot going on right now. There's a lot of emotion. I'm really grateful for being in this position and for fighting until the end."
Giulia Molinaro and Hyo Joo Kim tied for third on ten-under with 2021 ANA Inspiration winner Patty Tavatanakit and 2017 Women's PGA champion Danielle Kang sharing fifth place on eight-under.
Celine Boutier and American Austin Ernst finished a further shot back on seven-under.
Ireland's Leona Maguire (71) finished in a tie for fifteenth on four-under with the English duo of Georgia Hall (67) and Charley Hull (72) a further shot back in a tie for twenty-first.