Nelly Korda comes through a play-off against Ryann O'Toole to claim her 10th LPGA Tour victory at the FIR HILLS SERI PAK Championship and will move back to World Number One

It was back-to-back victories, completed in similar styles for American Nelly Korda, as she returned after a seven-week break since winning the LPGA Drive On Championship to claim the FIR HILLS SERI PAK Championship after a play-off against fellow American Ryann O'Toole.

One thing is for sure, she certainly did not make either victory easy for herself:

“I seem to always make it interesting.”

Korda becomes the first player since Karrie Webb in 2011 to win two of her first three starts of the season, and the first since Inbee Park in 2013 to win in a play-off in consecutive starts. Korda is also projected to return to the Rolex Ranking Number One position for the fifth time in her career and first time since August of 2023.

Tough final day in California

“Definitely not easy coming back after a long break like that not really knowing where your game is. Fought really hard the last three days. The weekend was brutal,” said Korda. “Today was tough. That's the beauty of the game. It's fun to play in these conditions and be a little bit more artistic out here.”

It was an exciting day of play, with a packed leaderboard for most of it. Entering the final round in the penultimate grouping, Korda made three birdies to two bogeys on her front nine to make the turn at -8, one shot behind the leaders at that point of the round at -9, Alison Lee and Jiyai Shin.

A birdie on 12 and an eagle on the 14th gave Korda a two-shot lead as Ryann O’Toole signed at -9 overall in the scoring tent. O’Toole shot a Sunday 66 at Palos Verdes, her lowest 18-hole score since a 64 in the second round of the LPGA Drive On Championship. After hearing of the eagle, O’Toole watched and waited over the next four holes in the clubhouse. Korda went on to go bogey-birdie-bogey-bogey in her closing holes to shoot a 69 and find herself in her second-straight play-off with a victory on the line.

Watch final round highlights from the FIR HILLS SERI PAK Championship

O’Toole and Korda went back to 18 for the 73rd hole. O’Toole missed to the right side of the fairway off the tee, as Korda missed to the left. O’Toole had a lengthy putt for birdie that missed the pin by mere inches, and eventually looked on as Korda’s 15-foot birdie putt found the bottom of the cup.

“Honestly didn't really start feeling nervous until I made that eagle putt. I was kind of just, I didn't really know what was going on, how the group behind me was doing. It was so windy was caught up in trying to control my ball flight,” said Korda. “Once I made the eagle, I mean, I got maybe a little nervous where it kind of got a little ahead of myself and started making some mistakes of yeah, interesting last couple holes.”

O'Toole proud of her performance

“I can't be more proud to be in this position. You know, that was actually my first play-off ever, so I really enjoyed it. At least I gave it my best attempt. That putting could have gone either way. You know, Nelly played obviously really great. Obviously last couple holes for her put her in the position to be in a playoff with me,” said O’Toole, who earned her best finish since her 2021 victory at the Women’s Scottish Open. “Hey, I came from behind and gave it my best chance. I can't be more proud.”

Lee and Australian Gabriela Ruffels tied for third at -8. Ruffels, playing in the final group with Shin and Lee, carded five birdies to two bogeys and a double bogey on the par-4 9th. Though she missed out on the play-off by one on with pars on 17 and 18, Ruffels earned a career-best finish on Tour in only her third event of the 2024 season.

“Such a special week considering that kind of back nine on Friday I was outside the cut line,” said Ruffels, who was tied 33 and one-under-par overall entering the weekend at the FHSP Championship. "So had really, really good weekend and managed the wind. It was such a special week to be here at Palos Verdes with my family close by and, to kind of have my best result in an LPGA event.”

Jasmine Suwannapura, Shin and Hermose Beach native Andrea Lee finished in a tie for fifth at seven-under-par, while defending champion Ruoning Yin and Sarah Schmelzel finished in a tie for eighth at six-under-par. Jenny Shin, Gemma Dryburgh and Charley Hull rounded out the top 10 at five-under-par overall.

Next up is a new event for the LPGA Tour, the Ford Championship presented by KCC, which will be played at Seville Golf and Country Club in Gilbert, Arizona.