US teenager Jessica Korda won the Women’s Australian Open yesterday for her first LPGA Tour title, holing a 25 foot birdie putt on the second hole of a six-player playoff.
The 18-year-old Korda completed a two-sport, father-daughter Australian double with the breakthrough victory. Petr Korda won the 1998 Australian Open tennis tournament, also in Melbourne.
Jessica Korda closed with a one-over 74 to finish at three-under 289 in the first women’s professional event at Royal Melbourne, the historic sand-belt layout that was the site of last year’s Presidents Cup.
Stacy Lewis, Brittany Lincicome, Julieta Granada, Ryu So-yeon and Seo Hee-kyung also were in the playoff, playing in threesomes on the par-four 18th. All six players made par on the first extra hole. On the second playoff hole, Lewis, Lincicome, Granada and Seo made par and Ryu had a bogey.
Ryu and Seo, playing ahead of Jessica Korda and Nikki Campbell in the second-to-last group, topped the leaderboard at four-under on their final hole, but both closed with bogeys to shoot 73.
Jessica Korda, who began the round with a one-stroke lead and was two ahead at seven-under after birdieing three of the first holes, dropped all the way to two-under before birdieing the par-five 17th and parring the 18th in regulation to get the final spot in the playoff.
She had a double bogey on No. 9, bogeyed 10, birdied 11, then bogeyed Nos. 14 to 16 to seemingly fall out of contention.
Lewis finished with a 70 and Lincicome and Granada shot 71.
Playing in the first playoff threesome, Lincicome had a good chance to win on the first extra hole, but her 6 foot birdie try circled the cup and stayed out. She missed a 15 foot birdie try on the second extra hole.
After Jessica Korda made her birdie putt in the second group on the second playoff hole, Granada missed a 12 footer that would have sent the two back to the 18th tee.
Taiwan’s Yani Tseng shot a one-over 74 for an even 291 to finish in eighth place.
Additional reporting by staff writer