Jessica Korda birdies first playoff hole to beat Danielle Kang in LPGA opener

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Jessica Korda closed with a 5-under 66 and holed a 30-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole Sunday to beat Danielle Kang in the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions and start the LPGA Tour season on a good note.

Korda won for the sixth time on the LPGA Tour, and it was her first victory in nearly three years. She shot a career-best 60 on Saturday.

Kang started the final round at Four Seasons Golf and Sports Club Orlando with a two-shot lead, which she quickly stretched to four shots with an opening birdie and Korda dropping a shot on the third hole. That was Korda’s last mistake.


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Kang had a two-shot lead with four holes to play when she made her first bogey of the tournament – and her first bogey in 65 holes dating to last season – on the 15th. Korda caught her with a birdie on the 16th.

Nelly Korda, the younger sister of Jessica who joined them in the final group, got within two shots of the lead. She closed with a 64 and finished two shots out of the playoff.

Watch: Jessica Korda sinks birdie bomb in playoff to win LPGA opener

Kang, who shot 68, had to make a 4-foot par putt on the par-3 18th to force a playoff at 24-under 260.

Going back to the 18th for the playoff, Kang appeared to have an advantage with a tee shot pin-high about 18 feet to the right. Korda was 30 feet short, roughly the same putt she had in regulation. This time, she read the speed perfectly and rolled it in. Kang’s birdie putt to extend the playoff was low all the way.

Former tennis player Mardy Fish won the celebrity portion of the tournament, using the modified-Stableford format.