03/24 21:46 CDT Jin Young Ko rallies to win LPGA Tour's Founders Cup
Jin Young Ko rallies to win LPGA Tour's Founders Cup
By JOHN NICHOLSON
AP Sports Writer
PHOENIX (AP) --- Jin Young Ko rallied to win the Founders Cup on Sunday for her
third LPGA Tour victory and first in the United States, closing with a 7-under
65 for a one-stroke victory over four players.
The 23-year-old Ko birdied Nos. 14-16 and parred the final two to finish at
22-under 266 at Desert Ridge. She won when third-round leader Yu Liu missed a
15-foot par putt on the par-4 18th.
Ko was 15 under over the weekend, rebounding from a second-round 72 with a 64
on Saturday to pull within four strokes of Liu. She said she learned from
Dustin Johnson after talking to fellow South Korean player Jennifer Song about
the top-ranked PGA Tour star.
"She told me Dustin hit so bad and he didn't get angry --- put clubs in the bag
and just walk," Ko said. "So, I tried like Dustin yesterday and today. I just
tried no angry, no happy, just focus."
Liu shot a 70 to tie for second with playing partner Carlota Ciganda and
sisters Jessica and Nelly Korda. Ciganda closed with a 69, Jessica Korda eagled
the two back-nine par 5s in a 64, and Nelly Korda shot 66.
Choosing to putt with the flagstick in the hole under golf's new rules, Ko made
a 4-footer on the par-3 14th, two-putted for birdie on the par-5 15th and made
it three in a row from 3 feet on the par-4 16th.
"Lots of players thinks if there is a pin in the ball might hit the pin and
come out," Ko said. "I think it's great to put the pin in because of it makes
it easier for me to putt because it is a small target."
A 10-time winner on Korean tour, Ko won the 2017 LPGA KEB Hana Bank
Championship in South Korea to earn her LPGA Tour card and took the Women's
Australian Open last year.
She broke through in the U.S. on Sunday in the event that honors the 13 women
who founded the LPGA Tour, a goal she said she thought about too much last year.
"But my friends told me, 'You can do it.' Also my manager and my parents, my
caddie, all people say you can," Ko said. "I got lots of confidence for this
year. Really good for third win in the States."
Ko has three top-three finishes in four events this year. She was second behind
Nelly Korda last month in her Australian title defense and was coming off a
third-place tie three weeks ago in Singapore.
The 23-year-old Liu missed a chance to join Shanshan Feng as a Chinese winner
on the tour.
"It was amazing week for me," Liu said. "First time being able to play in the
final round, first time being in contention. Didn't handle the way I wanted to,
but feel like there is always room for improvements."
The former Duke player wasn't sure where she was on the leaderboard playing the
"I don't know exactly where I stand, if I needed to make birdie or just save
par and get to playoff," Liu said. "So I wasn't as focused as I would've liked.
I think that's why I made bogey."
Ciganda played at Arizona State, helping the Sun Devil wins the 2009 NCAA title.
"I would've loved to win," the Spaniard said. "Always special here in Phoenix,
but I couldn't today."
Jessica Korda returned from a left forearm injury to make her first start of
"Obviously, playing pain-free. It shows," Jessica Korda said.
She parred the last two holes, leaving a 20-footer an inch short on 17 and
coming up well short on 18.
"I knew I had to post a low one just to kind of make the girls a little
nervous," she said. "A little disappointed with leaving that last putt short
because I knew I needed to make it. I thought it was going to be downhill. Just
the difference in the shade with the light I guess just confused me a little
Nelly Korda had her fifth straight top-10 finish to open the season. She also
parred the final two holes.
"I'm bummed, but I'm not too bummed because I played well this week and I'm
happy with the way my game is trending," she said. "I gave myself an
opportunity on the last couple holes. Seventeen just burned the edge and then I
lipped out pretty hard on 18, unfortunately."
Top-ranked Sung Hyun Park faded after sharing the second-round lead with Liu.
The Singapore winner had weekend rounds of 69 and 72 to tie for 14th at 15
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