Korda made a birdie on the first playoff hole – the par-four 18th – of the Pelican Women’s Championship in Florida to claim her fourth Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour win of the season.
The birdie edged her ahead of world No. 4 Kim Sei-Young, world No. 5 Lydia Ko and major winner Lexi Thompson in the playoff as the 23-year-old maintained her astronomic rise.
The playoff was the finale to a thrilling hour of play where it looked like Korda had thrown away her opportunity for victory right at the last hurdle.
Tied for the lead with two holes remaining at the Pelican Golf Club, the American triple-bogeyed the par-four 17th allowing Thompson to move into a one-shot lead.
“I honestly lost hope,” Korda explained afterwards. “I was like, ‘Okay, just try to make a solid par because 18 is a really tough hole. If you have a chance for birdie, then try and go after it.’ But my caddie [Jason McDede] really kept me in the moment and I didn’t give up. Thank God I didn’t.
“Jason was like: ‘I want you to take one minute and just think positive thoughts, no negativity.’ So I just thought about the putts I made, particularly No. 6. I made that right-to-left birdie putt, so I thought about that and just seeing the ball go in the hole.”
However, on a dramatic 18th hole, Thompson could only finish with a bogey to level herself with Kim and Ko, while Korda made a 21-foot birdie to force a four-way playoff with the players all tied on 17-under after 72 holes.
And again on the 18th in the playoff, Korda was able to make magic with her putter, drilling a putt from 23 feet away to claim her fourth victory of the season and the seventh of her young career.
She became the most successful American in an LPGA Tour season since Stacy Lewis won four times in 2012, as well as joining world No. 2 Ko Jin-Young as the only players with four wins on the LPGA Tour this season.
Korda also won the gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and in a season where she also won her first major, she was in a pensive mood after the Pelican Women’s Championship.
“I think the major [Women’s PGA Championship] was the hardest because it was back-to-back events. It was my first major and that’s what I wanted for so, so long,” Korda said. “Growing up, I didn’t think: ‘Okay, I want to play in the Olympics. I want to win a gold medal.’ It was: ‘I want to win a major.’ That one definitely ranks really high up.
“But the gold medal comes once every four years. It’s such an honor to stand on that podium in front of the flag and put your hand across your chest. I had chills go through my entire body and I got really, really emotional. Thankfully, I had the mask on.
“I always say that every event has a different meaning and every event has a special meaning to me, but obviously my first major, the gold medal, winning in front of my parents for the first time in [Lake] Nona, coming back, having all these expectations on me, not playing for a while and winning here, winning at Meijer [LPGA Classic] after missing the cut at the U.S. Open, being so down. Every win is special.”