Nelly Korda mounted a comeback to secure victory at the LPGA Drive On Championship in her hometown, thwarting Lydia Ko’s entry into the LPGA Hall of Fame. Korda triumphed in a playoff on the second hole, overcoming a three-stroke deficit with an eagle-birdie finish.
The decisive moment came on the par-4 18th, where Korda sank a crucial 4-foot par putt while Ko’s 5-footer hit the lip and spun out. Reflecting on her performance, Korda remarked, “I seem to always make it very dramatic and interesting. So, there is no better feeling than to do it in front of a home crowd. What a day!”
Ko, who won the season-opening Tournament of Champions the previous week, narrowly missed out on her 20th tour victory and the Hall of Fame qualification. Korda, starting the day four strokes ahead of Ko, shot a 2-over 73 to tie at 11-under 273 with Ko, who eagled the par-5 17th in a final round of 69.
Despite a challenging stretch where Korda dropped four strokes in three holes, she rallied with a crucial eagle putt on the 17th and an impressive approach to within a foot on the 18th. Korda admitted, “Gosh, I thought that the tournament was over going into 17. I just kind of gave myself a chance. I knew that if I rolled that eagle in I had to birdie the last.”
In the playoff, Korda missed a birdie attempt on the first extra trip down the 18th, while Ko secured par. On the second playoff hole, Korda’s strategic chip set up a winning putt, as Ko three-putted after falling short on her 30-foot birdie attempt.
Thriving off the support of the home crowd, 25-year-old Korda led wire-to-wire for her ninth LPGA Tour victory, marking her first win since the 2022 Pelican Women’s Championship.
Expressing gratitude for the fans, Korda said, “I think even when I was down, they were so, so positive and keeping me in it. It was such a grind out there, so back and forth. I just can’t even believe it right now.”
Megan Khang secured third place at 8 under after a final round of 72, while Lucy Li (69) and Ayaka Furue (73) finished at 7 under.