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Jessica Korda wins third LPGA title

Canberra Times logo Canberra Times 25/05/2014 Canberra Times

MOBILE, Alabama Jessica Korda, the 21-year-old daughter of retired tennis star Petr Korda, birdied four of the last five holes on Sunday to win the Airbus LPGA Classic.

Korda fired a bogey-free seven-under par 65, playing the last nine holes in six-under 30, to finish 72 holes on 20-under par 268 and defeat Sweden's Anna Nordqvist by one stroke.

It was the third career LPGA victory for Korda, who won the 2012 Australian Women's Open and this year's season opener in the Bahamas.

Korda gave much of the credit to how well the Robert Trent Jones Trail Crossings course matched up with her skills.

"It just sets up great for my game. I can be aggressive," Korda said. "I hadn't been playing well coming in. Once I got playing, my confidence just kept rising every single day. I just love this course."

Korda birdied the par-4 seventh but was still well off the pace until the back nine, when her putts began to fall.

She began the back nine with a birdie, added another at 12 and sank a curvy 12-footer at the 14th to begin a run of three in a row, including a tense 15-footer at 15 and a tap-in at the par-5 16th to seize a two-stroke lead.

"They started dropping on the back nine," Korda said. "I was frustrated but I was able to stay patient and make some shots."

At 18, Korda curled in a birdie putt that forced Nordqvist to make an eagle to match her. The Swede dropped a long birdie putt but it only trimmed Korda's victory margin.

Korda became the third multi-event winner on the LPGA Tour this season, joining Nordqvist and Australian Karrie Webb.

England's Charley Hull, Scotland's Catriona Matthew and American Michelle Wie shared third on 270, with South Korean Jenny Shin on 271 and American Lexi Thompson, South Korean Ji Eun-Hee and England's Jodi Ewart Shadoff on 272.

American world No.2 Stacy Lewis, who had the chance to overtake South Korean Park In-Bee atop the rankings this week, failed in her bid at the top spot.

Lewis, who needed a solo third-place finish or better to become No.1, fired a 71 -- the worst final round of anyone in the top 18 -- to settle for share of 10th on 273.

Along finishing on 273 were Spain's Belen Mozo, American Brittany Lincicome and South Korean Ryu So-Yeon.

Katherine Kirk was the best-placed Australian, ten shots off the pace after a disappointing final round of 73.


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