Though she ultimately lost in a playoff to Rose Zhang, major champion Jennifer Kupcho can still chalk her performance at the Mizuho Americas Open up as a success. The three-time LPGA Tour winner fired a 3-under 69 on Sunday, highlighted by three birdies and a hole-out eagle on the par-4, 7th hole, to post a 72-hole total of 9-under (279) and find herself in only the second playoff of her entire LPGA Tour career. While she wasn't able to get the job done, making a bogey on the second playoff hole to hand the title to Zhang, the runner-up result is her best finish on the LPGA Tour since she won the 2022 Dow Great Bay Lakes Invitational alongside partner Lizette Salas. Kupcho was proud that she gave herself a chance at a fourth career victory at Liberty National Golf Club.
"I've kind of struggled coming into this week earlier this season, so to come back and play really well this week, it's good to see," said Kupcho, who posted four consecutive under-par rounds for the first time since her playoff victory at the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give. "I struggled at the end of last year and just mentally trying to get myself back into it and really believe that I can do it. Tried something different this week, not looking at leaderboards, and that seemed to help a lot.
"I came into the last few weeks just trying to make cuts and that's not going to get you anywhere. So every time I thought that out there on the course, I just said, 'You're going to win this tournament. You're not going to just make the cut.' Here I am, so it's exciting to see."
This week in Jersey City, N.J., marks Kupcho's tenth start of the 2023 season. She's missed two cuts so far this year, and her best finish before the Mizuho Americas Open was a T16 that came at the season-opening Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions. As she looks ahead to a title defense in Grand Rapids and the remaining four major championships on the 2023 schedule, Kupcho will take plenty of positives away from this experience at Mizuho, even though the loss stings a little bit.
"It's hard for me to not think about it, but on this type of grass, I'm always the best. We're starting to hit in this type of grass going forward, so I'm excited to see where the season goes," she said. "It's been a long trek. It was really hard last year and even the beginning of this year. Lots of rounds crying afterward, so to be here now, it's a good feeling."