(Oct. 28, 2018, Taoyuan) 20-year-old American Nelly Korda kept her composure and held off overnight co-leader Wei-Ling Hsu of Taiwan and a handful of challengers to cruise to a 4-under 68 in the final round of the Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship for a 2-shot win, her first career victory on the LPGA tour.
Hsu lost her touch on the putting surface today and closed with a disappointing 2-over 74 to finish in a tie for sixth, coming up short of her first win on the LPGA tour in front of more than 32,000 hometown fans who followed her every stroke and putt today at Ta Shee Golf & Country Club.
Nelly Korda and her older sister Jessica, a five-time winner on the tour who is not in the field this week, have become just the third siblings to get in the winner's circle on the LPGA after Annika & Charlotta Sorenstam as well as Ariya & Moriya Jutanugarn.
"Truthfully, I cannot put this into words...I can finally check that off my list--winning an LPGA event, something I have dreamed of ever since I started playing," said Nelly, who birdied the fourth hole and gained another two shots with a spectacular second shot that reached the green of the par-5 sixth hole. She went on to make the crucial 8-foot putt for eagle and took the lead that she never relinquished.
Korda, whose parents are both retired and successful professional tennis players, said she FaceTimed Jessica, who was at home watching live streaming of this tournament in Orlando, right after she clinched the breakthrough win. "She has been there for me every step of the way since I lost by one shot in Singapore," revealed Korda, referring to her runner-up finish at the HSBC Women's World Championship in early March this year.
Actually, this marks the second win for Nelly Korda in tournaments sponsored by the Swinging Skirts, as she also won the "Yani Tseng Invitational presented by the Swinging Skirts" in 2015 as an amateur. "I am going to keep Taiwan close to my heart, and Swinging Skirts," added Korda.
On the other hand, Hsu said it was a let-down t that she failed to take advantage of her home course advantage. "I was a bit upset because so many people came out and cheered for me. Especially after I made a birdie on the first hole and had high expectations," said Hsu, who took five bogeys against 3 birdies today compared with a total of 3 bogeys during the first three rounds.
"Unfortunately, my putting is not going well today, and it's a little unlucky. But Nelly is playing really good golf today, but I tried my best," said Hsu, who has racked up four top-10 finishes so far this year, including an impressive T5 finish at the U.S. Women's Open. "It's getting better and better every time, and I have gained a lot of experience."
Minjee Lee of Australia made a ferocious charge today, shooting a field-leading, bogey-free 66 to move up to a runner-up finish at 11-under par for the tournament. "The conditions were probably the toughest that we had all week, but my ball-striking and my putting was good," said Lee. American veteran Ryann O'Toole also finished strong today, shooting a 67 to finish third with an aggregate score of 10-under par.
Spaniard Carlota Ciganda and Megan Khang of the US are tied for fourth at eight-under par. Former Rolex Rankings No. 1 player and 2015 Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship winner Lydia Ko grinded out a 72 for a T6 finish. For more information, please visit the official tournament website: http://www.sslpgataiwan.com/?locale=tw