Golf: American Nelly Korda captures Meijer LPGA event for second win this season

LOS ANGELES (AFP, REUTERS) – Nelly Korda closed with a five-under 67 at the Meijer Classic on Sunday (June 20) to become the first two-time winner on the LPGA Tour this season.

The 22-year-old American finished at 25-under 263 to beat Ireland’s Leona Maguire by two strokes and break the tournament record at the Blythefield Country Club course in Michigan.

“Honestly, there has been times where on Sundays I really haven’t enjoyed it. The stress kind of ate at me and I didn’t stay in the moment and enjoy playing golf on a Sunday in a final group.

“But today I really enjoyed it and it was actually a really good battle between Leona and I. She definitely kept me on my toes,” said Korda, who also won the Gainbridge tournament in February.

Maguire, 26, finished solo second after a 66. It was her second time placing second this season, again falling short of winning her first LPGA Tour title.

World No. 4 Korda and the others used the event as a tune-up for the Women’s PGA Championship, which starts on Thursday in the south-eastern city of Atlanta.

Korda started her final round with a three-shot lead after rolling in 11 birdies en route to a career best 62 in the third round. She joined a short list of players who have drained 11 birdies in a round, second only to Annika Sorenstam’s record 13 birdies in a 2001 LPGA Tour round.

Korda bounced back after missing the cut two weeks ago at the US Women’s Open. This marks her fifth career title.

South Korean Chun In-gee shot a 63 to tie for third with Brittany Altomare (64) at 21 under. Swede Anna Nordqvist was next at 20 under after a 66.

Playing together in the final grouping, Korda and Maguire duelled throughout the day.

Maguire, 26, a former amateur world No. 1, caught up to Korda to tie for the lead with four birdies on her front nine.

Korda sank an eagle on the par-five 14th and birdied the following hole to build a three-shot advantage. But on No. 16, Maguire birdied and Korda bogeyed to cut that lead to one.

After both players made par at No. 17, Korda’s second shot at the last hole found thick rough short of the green.

But Korda stuck her third shot close to the hole and made birdie, while Maguire three-putted for par.

Korda said: “I had to play good golf. There’s a lot of birdie opportunities out here. I started off a little rough, not hitting many fairways, but kept telling myself to battle through it and just to have fun out here.”

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