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Nelly Korda turned a two-player race into a runaway as she won the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship by three shots to capture her first major-championship title. Here’s everything you need to know from Korda’s spectacular Sunday at Atlanta Athletic Club:
Leaderboard: Nelly Korda (-19), Lizette Salas (-16), Giulia Molinaro, Hyo Joo Kim (-10), Danielle Kang (-8), Patty Tavatanakit (-8)
How it happened: Korda and Salas entered Sunday’s final round five shots clear of the field at 15 under, but Korda found herself two ahead after nearly making an albatross at the par-5 fifth hole. After her second eagle of the day, at the par-5 12th hole, which signaled a three-shot swing between Korda and Salas, and a birdie at the par-4 14th, Korda led by five shots. Not even a water ball off the tee and double bogey at the par-3 15th allowed Salas to get to within striking distance, as Korda, who saw her streak of 49 straight holes of par or better snapped after that double, kept her poise and finished off a closing 4-under 68.
What it means: Korda, 22, isn’t just a major champion for the first time, she also is projected to move to No. 1 in the world for the first time in her career. She is the first American major winner since Angela Stanford captured the 2018 Evian and first U.S.-born world No. 1 since Stacy Lewis in 2014. When Korda turned pro at age 17, she wasn’t old enough to compete on the LPGA right away, but that didn’t mean no one saw her potential. Unsurprisingly, she’s now a six-time LPGA winner – three of those wins have come this season – and will represent her country – likely along with older sister, Jessica, and younger brother, Sebastian, a tennis player who is ranked No. 50 in the ATP rankings – in the Olympics next month in Tokyo. She’ll likely arrive there as the player to beat, too.
The 31-year-old Salas, meanwhile, has her third finish of T-6 or better in her past five starts as she continues to chase another Solheim Cup berth. Her runner-up showing was her best since she placed second at the 2019 Women’s British Open.
Round of the day: Amy Yang carded six birdies to go along with an eagle at the par-4 eighth to shoot 8-under 64 and climb to T-9, her 18th major top-10.
Shots of the day: It’s hard to pick between Korda’s second shots at Nos. 5 and 12. The former came from 243 yards with 7-wood, and it nearly found the bottom of the cup.
Nelly Korda with the near albatross to extend her lead in the final round of the KPMG Women's PGA Championship.pic.twitter.com/Dt59IWEykx
— Golf Central (@GolfCentral) June 27, 2021
Watch now on NBC! pic.twitter.com/I4GjgmpwH8
— LPGA (@LPGA) June 27, 2021
Biggest disappointments: Patty Tavatanakit, Giulia Molinaro and Celine Boutier were the three players five shots back entering the final day, but none of them broke par and all three combined to shoot 5 over. Salas was the only player besides Korda who really had a chance, and Salas’ costly bogey at No. 12 all but ended her bid.
Winning quote: “Honestly, this is something that I’ve worked for since I was 14, since I played in my first [major], I wanted to be a major champion, and to finally get it done … it’s really special.” – Korda