South Korean Ko Jin-young won the LPGA Tour’s Founders Cup for the third time on Sunday, clinching a playoff victory over Australia’s Minjee Lee in Clifton, New Jersey.
Ko, who triumphed on different courses in 2021 and 2019, defeated defending champion Lee with a par on the first playoff hole where the Australian, who had a two stroke lead with three holes to go, three-putted for bogey.
South Africa’s Ashleigh Buhai finished third at 10 under par, three shots behind the leaders. Her final-round 70 included six birdies and four bogies.
Lee went into Sunday’s final round at the Upper Montclair Country Club with a three stroke lead but suffered a setback with a double-bogey on the par-three 6th, where she found the water.
She then made bogey on the par-four 16th allowing Ko to come into contention.
The 27-year-old Korean, who was bogey-free in her final round, was able to force a playoff when she birdied the last hole.
It was the fourth straight LPGA Tour tournament that has been decided by a playoff and Ko said she hadn’t overcomplicated her approach to the final round.
“I didn’t have a game plan. I just felt tired the last three days, so I really want to focus on my game,” said Ko.
The high-winds made low scoring difficult but Ko said it had forced to her focus and keep her mind off the leaderboard.
“I played really, really good. It was so windy, was too windy out there, so I thought if I can play really well I could have a chance to win.
“So I really focused myself and focused shot by shot on every hole and didn’t look the scoreboard. I didn’t think about the other players,” she added.
With the win, Ko is projected to move from fifth to first in the Race to the CME Globe.
Now in her sixth season on the LPGA Tour, Ko has 14 wins, including two Major championships.
© Agence France-Presse