It came down to a play-off at the LPGA Drive On Championship, with Nelly Korda winning on the second play-off hole
It seems that an off season reset and the introduction of new coaches have made all the difference for Nelly Korda and Lydia Ko. As Ko chased back-to-back victories and the final point needed to enter the LPGA Hall of Fame, Korda was looking for her first win on the LPGA since the Pelican Championship in November 2022.
In the end, it took 20 holes to separate the pair, with the win going to now nine-time LPGA Tour winner Korda who won the LPGA Drive On Championship defeating Ko with a par on the second play-off hole at Bradenton Country Club.
Final day thriller
Taking a four-stroke lead into her final round on Sunday, Korda stayed steady through her first four holes before recording a bogey on the fifth, allowing the field to creep back into contention. It would be until 14 that Korda would card her second of three bogeys on the round, following that up with a double bogey on the par-3, fifteenth. Her third bogey of the round on the 16th dropped her out of the lead and placed her at eight-under-par with two holes to play.
Thanks to an eagle on 17, Ko placed herself in prime position to secure the win with a three-stroke lead heading into 18. Not without the dramatics, Korda also recorded an eagle of her own to have a chance at a play-off, needing a birdie on the final hole. Both Korda and Ko were the only players to make eagles on hole 17 during the final round of play. After her drive on the 18th, Korda knocked her approach shot within inches of the hole and tapped in the birdie putt to force a play-off.
Watch final round highlights from the LPGA Drive On Championship
The duo replayed 18 and on their approach shots, Korda set herself up nicely with a long look at birdie while Ko hit hers arrantly to the left off the green. A great up and down from Ko, a missed birdie putt from Korda and a couple of pars set the two back up to the 18th tee for another playoff hole. After their approach shots, the roles were reversed and Ko had a chance at a long birdie and Korda was off the back of the green. Ko left her birdie putt short, and Korda chipped on about to about three feet from the cup. Ko lipped out her par putt and tapped in the bogey before Korda sealed her hometown win, knocking down the three-footer.
“Every win has a story,” said Korda. “Just with the struggles of last year and just with today as well, I thought I completely lost it. Being in my hometown and having the hometown support was incredible. I didn't think this many people would show up. Even on the first day, Thursday, the amount of people that were out here supporting was incredible. I couldn't have done it without all their positive energy.”
Watch highlights from the LPGA Drive On Championship play-off
2023 CPKC Women’s Open winner Megan Khang finished solo third at eight-under-par. 2023 LPGA Tour rookie Lucy Li, earned her first top-10 finish as a member of the LPGA Tour, tied for fourth alongside Ayaka Furue at seven-under-par. Furue earned her second-straight tied fourth finish of the year. 2024 LPGA Tour rookies Auston Kim and Mone Inami finished tied sixth and eighth, respectively with Kim making her first LPGA Tour cut ever. Defending champion Celine Boutier finished tied sixteenth in her first start of 2024, with World Number one Lilia Vu finishing in a tie for 55th.
View the full LPGA Drive On Championship leaderboard here.
The LPGA now takes a four week break before returning in Thailand for the Honda LPGA Thailand at Siam Country Club (February 22-25).