Nelly Korda prevails in playoff for second-straight LPGA Tour win

Nelly Korda raises a fist after winning the Seri Pak Championship.

Nelly Korda is back atop the Rolex Women's Rankings.

Orlando Ramirez/Getty Images

Nelly Korda, in her own admission, just can’t do things the easy way on the LPGA Tour.

Making her first start since a dramatic playoff victory over Lydia Ko at the LPGA Drive On Championship in January, Korda seemed destined to get her second-straight LPGA title more easily. She got it done at the Seri Pak Championship, but she had to go to a playoff once again.

“I say this all the time, but I seem to always make it interesting,” Korda said Sunday night from Palos Verdes Golf Club in California. “Yeah, just doing normal Nelly things, making it interesting.”

She started the day two back of the lead, but after an eagle on the par-5 14th, she opened up a three-shot lead. But she played her last four holes bogey-birdie-bogey-bogey, to fall back to nine under and end up in a tie with Ryan O’Toole after 72 holes.

“Honestly didn’t really start feeling nervous until I made that eagle putt. 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,” Korda said. “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.”

After Korda hit her approach long of the green at the 18th and then failed to get up and down, she still had time before the final groups finished before the playoff.

She used that time to talk with coach Jamie Mulligan.

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“I vented to my coach on the putting green and then he asked me if I’m ready to be positive. Took a little bit and then I was ready,” she said. “And then we talked a little bit, laughed a little bit. He’s really good at just cracking jokes, which sometimes I just give him a pity laugh.”

The mindset change worked. Both Korda and O’Toole missed the fairway off the 18th tee in the playoff hole, but each recovered to have looks at birdie from about 15 feet. O’Toole went first and missed, but Korda stepped up from just inside and nailed the birdie putt for her second-consecutive win.

After the win, Korda credited Mulligan both for helping her reset and getting her ready after a long break since the Drive On Championship.

“[Having Mulligan here] helped a lot just because I haven’t played competitive golf in the past seven weeks,” she said. “I took at least three-and-a-half weeks off — off of golf — so it was nice to have him here all week. If was struggling after the round he knew exactly what to say, what to do. He’s also a super positive presence and I enjoy spending a lot of time around him.”

The win gives Korda her 10th LPGA Tour title, the second most of any player since her first victory in 2018. According to stat wiz Justin Ray, she’s also the first player to win two out of her first three starts in a season since Karrie Webb in 2011 and the first American player to get two wins in a season before April 1st since Stacy Lewis in 2013.

She also moves back to the top of the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings.

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