A leaderboard packed with major champions, in which a three-way playoff was needed to determine winner, all played out on the eve of the season’s third major championship. The finish at the Meijer LPGA Classic made for one of the most captivating events of the year.
Six major champions sat on the first page of the leaderboard heading into the final round In Michigan, including defending champion Nelly Korda, Jennifer Kupcho, Lexi Thompson, Brooke Henderson, Minjee Lee, and Lydia Ko. And then there was Leona Maguire, already a winner this season, who carded the low round of the day with a 7-under par 65 to force a playoff with Korda and Kupcho.
On the second playoff hole, Kupcho two-putted for birdie to defeat Maguire. Korda was eliminated on the first extra hole and Kupcho won for the second time in as many months.
“I had such a big lead going into the final round at Chevron,” Kupcho said about the six-stroke lead she held en route to her first win, as opposed to the one stroke deficit by which she started Sunday’s final round. “To come out of this one with, I mean, top-ranked players all over the place, the leaderboard was packed, within strokes, so it really was very close, and I feel very proud of myself for coming out of it.”
The win for Kupcho, who captured the Chevron Championship in April, said Sunday’s win meant even more than securing her first major title. Why? Because just as the fans relish a leaderboard packed with the world’s best, so do the players.
“I outplayed them, I guess,” Kupcho said after her victory. “I hate to say that because they all are great players, but I controlled what I can control and that was my game.”
The nail-biting finish at the Meijer LPGA Classic set the stage for the season’s third major championship, the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland.
Congressional opened in the mid-1920s to provide members of Congress with a place to socialize and throughout the years has welcomed a slew of political stars from Presidents Dwight Eisenhower to Barack Obama. But for the first time in the club’s long and storied history, the club will host the biggest stars in the women’s game when it welcomes the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.
And, for the second consecutive week, Korda seeks to defend her title. One year ago, the top-ranked American earned her maiden major title when it was staged at the Atlanta Athletic Club. Korda used the victory as a springboard, as she ascended to No.1 in the Rolex Rankings and the following month won Olympic Gold in Tokyo.
The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship has sought to elevate women in business and in sport through the annual women’s summit, by bringing the championship to the best courses in golf, and by providing the stars of the women’s game with a platform in which to compete. Come Thursday, that stage will include one of the prestigious in the nation when the championship adds Congressional to its storied list of courses. And as much as the fans would love to see a star-studded leaderboard come Sunday, there’s no one that would enjoy it more than the players.