The sensational play of Jessica Korda, an 18-year-old who won her first women’s golf tournament, earned her selection as the United States Sports Academy’s February Female Athlete of the Month.
Korda recorded a breakout win in the Women’s Australian Open at Royal Melbourne. The teenager won her first Ladies Professional Golf Association tour title by making a 25-foot birdie putt on the second extra hole of a six-player playoff. After losing the lead, Korda fought back to take the last spot in the six-player playoff, which matched the largest in LPGA tour history. Korda closed with a 1-over-par 74 to finish at 3-under 289 for the tournament. Her victory in only her 16th start as an LPGA member made her the sixth-youngest winner in LPGA history and the fourth youngest to win a 72-hole event.
The public is invited to participate in the worldwide Athlete of the Month nomination and ballot voting processes. Visit the Academy website at www.ussa.edu to submit your nominations each month, and then return to the website between the first day and second Tuesday of each month to vote on the male and female Athletes of the Month. The votes along with the Academy’s selection committee choose the winners and they are announced on the Academy’s website and in the online edition of The Sport Update.
The winners of the Academy’s male and female Athletes of the Month will be considered as candidates for the 2012 Athlete of the Year ballot. In December 2012, the Academy will name the male and female Athlete of the Year for the 28th consecutive year. The recipients of this prestigious award are selected annually through worldwide online balloting hosted by the Academy in conjunction with USA Today and NBC Sports.
In 2011, the Male Athlete of the Year was No. 1-ranked tennis player Novak Djokovic of Serbia and the Female Athlete of the Year was No. 1-ranked golfer Yani Tseng of Taiwan. Both of them dominated 2011’s ballot that drew as many as 50,000 votes a day from across the world.