Rolex Rankings No. 2 Nelly Korda had “a bit of an iffy round” on the final day of the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give, yet she still found herself in a three-way playoff that ultimately saw Jennifer Kupcho earn her second career LPGA Tour title. Leading by one stroke over Kupcho going into the final round, Korda made a few costly mistakes at Blythefiled Country Club that resulted in an even-par 72 on Sunday.
“On the front nine, on the par-5 on No. 4, is where I made my first bogey,” Korda said. “Then I made one on 9. You can't really do that out here. You have to capitalize on those par 5s.”
Korda carded three bogeys and three birdies on day four but it didn’t look like she’d gone low enough heading the 18th, a hole Kupcho had birdied the past two days and that played as the easiest par 5 this week, averaging 4.284 strokes for four rounds. A birdie or better from Kupcho would have avoided a playoff altogether, but luckily for Korda, Kupcho made par. Korda then sank her birdie putt to post at -18 and join the sudden-death playoff with Kupcho and Leona Maguire.
On the first playoff hole, Korda’s tee shot gave her immediate cause for concern. “I leaked it out right, which was my miss today,” she said. “I wasn't sure if it was behind the tree. I didn't really know the positioning, so I was just hoping that I would have somewhat of a clear shot. I did; it wasn't bad.”
Just clear of the tree line, Korda was able to land her second shot on the green but three-putted for par, missing out on the opportunity to defend her title. Korda has a 2-2 playoff record – her last playoff victory came in 2021 at the Pelican Women's Championship when she took down Lydia Ko, Sei Young Kim and Lexi Thompson – and though she only has a 50% success rate so far, she enjoys the thrill of head-to-head competition.
“I enjoy (playoffs). That means you're in contention, you got your way into the playoff, and you're playing for a title,” she said. “It's always good to be in a playoff. The adrenaline definitely kicks in during them and I think it's fun and it's why I enjoy playing competitive golf so much.”