While it may not have been her preferred way to win a professional golf tournament, Nelly Korda ultimately emerged victorious on Sunday at the FIR HILLS SERI PAK Championship, defeating her fellow American Ryann O’Toole in a one-hole playoff after finishing bogey-bogey to take home her 10th career LPGA Tour title and second win of the 2024 LPGA Tour season.

“Honestly, I didn't start feeling nervous until I made that eagle putt (on 14),” said Korda, who shot a 2-under 69 in the final round. “I didn't really know what was going on, how the group behind me was doing. It was so windy I was caught up in trying to control my ball flight. Once I made the eagle, I got maybe a little nervous and kind of got a little ahead of myself and started making some mistakes.

“Interesting last couple of holes. Eagle, bogey, birdie, bogey, bogey. I say this all the time, but I seem to always make it interesting. Just doing normal Nelly things, making it interesting.”

The Bradenton, Fla. native collected her ninth career LPGA Tour victory in late January at the LPGA Drive On Championship at Bradenton Country Club, also winning in a playoff that week over Lydia Ko in just her second start of the year, making Korda the first player to win back-to-back events in playoffs since Inbee Park last did so in 2013.

She’s also the first player to win in back-to-back LPGA Tour starts since Celine Boutier won The Amundi Evian Championship and Women’s Scottish Open last summer, something Korda also did in June 2021 when she captured the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give and took home her first major title the next week at the KPMG Women's PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club. Additionally, Korda is the first American to win two events before the month of April since Stacy Lewis won the HSBC Women’s World Championship and Cognizant Founders Cup in 2013.

But all of those accolades aside, Korda is just grateful to have even had a shot at her 10th LPGA Tour title on Sunday at Palos Verdes Golf Club, especially considering she was 1-over through 18 holes in Southern California.

“I was kind of on the cut line after round one at 1-over, and I just told myself, there is so much golf to be played. The weekend is going to be tough. Just stay in my own little bubble and kind of continuously chip at it,” said Korda, who hadn’t opened with an over-par round on the LPGA Tour since the 2023 AIG Women’s Open at Walton Heath Golf Club. “I didn't get too ahead of myself throughout the 73 holes. That's what I did best around here. It gets tough. The conditions are tough.”

Her win this week makes Korda the 39th different American to reach double-digit victories on the LPGA Tour, and she is now projected to ascend to No. 1 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings for the sixth time in her career, a position she hasn’t held since August 2023.

While most players would give anything to reach both of those milestones at some point in their careers, Korda is a player who just enjoys the thrill of competition and relishes every opportunity she gets to contend for titles against the world’s top talent, not worrying too much about ticking boxes on her professional golf resume.

“I think I paused at eight (wins) for a pretty long time,” said Korda. “Then, in 2022, I got one at the end of the year, and last year was disappointing with no wins. I think it's just golf. You have got to take it as it comes. Everything happens for a reason. I'm always going to put 110% into everything I do, especially with how much I love the game.

“I just think it's so much fun competing. There is nothing better than that adrenaline rush coming down your last couple of holes when you're in the lead. When it comes to wins, obviously, every event that I play in I want to win, but I also love the experiences of playing in these events and learning more about myself.”

But winning an event named for a player like Se Ri Pak, whose incredible LPGA Tour career and global impact on women’s golf still reverberates in the game to this day? Even Korda, who has achieved nearly everything it’s possible to as a professional golfer, considers that to be a pretty special accomplishment, making her win at the FIR HILLS SERI PAK Championship one she’ll likely remember for the rest of her career.

“Actually, this was the first time I got to speak and interact with (Se Ri Pak),” said Korda. “Growing up, she inspired so many around, and me being one of them. She's one of the greatest to ever play the game. To get to meet her and talk to her and win her event is an amazing feeling.”

Source: LPGA.com

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