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Korda returns to No. 1 with 10th LPGA win

Orlando Ramirez / Getty Images Sport / Getty

PALOS VERDES ESTATES, Calif. (AP) — Nelly Korda made bogey on her final two holes Sunday to fall into a playoff and atoned for it quickly, making a 12-foot birdie putt to beat Ryann O'Toole in the Fir Hills Seri Pak Championship to return to No. 1 in the world.

Korda, who closed with a 2-under 69, won for the second time this year, both of them involving surprising collapses and amazing revivals.

“I'm aging myself really quickly out here,” the 25-year-old Korda said.

She won the Drive On Championship in Florida in January by dropping four shots in three holes on the back nine, only to rally with an eagle-birdie finish to beat Lydia Ko.

Korda, playing for the first time since that Drive On win at the end of January, seized control by smashing a fairway metal up the hill on the par-5 14th. The ball caught a slope at the back of the green and rolled down to 18 feet, and she made the eagle putt.

O'Toole holed a 20-foot par putt on the 18th for a 66, and that looked to be good only for second place. But then Korda came up short of the par-3 17th and missed a 6-foot par putt, and she went long on the 18th and made another bogey.

They finished at 9-under 275, and the playoff ended quickly.

O'Toole hit 7-iron from the right rough to about 15 feet and her birdie putt burned the edge of the cup. Korda hit 8-iron to 12 feet and poured it in for her 10th career LPGA title.

Korda decided to skip the entire Asia swing, giving her nearly two months off. She felt rusty at the start and got sharper as the week went on. It helped that her swing coach, Jamie Mulligan, works down the road at Virginia Country Club in Long Beach and was able to work with her after each round.

“That really helped,” Korda said. “It's not easy coming back after a long break, not knowing where your game is.”

Making it tougher were brutal conditions of wind and cold. O'Toole was wearing ear muffs when she holed her clutch putt at the end of regulation.

Korda seemed to embrace the challenge.

“The weekend was brutal,” she said. “It's also the beauty of the game. It's fun to be able to play in these conditions and be a little more artistic.”

Jiyai Shin, a former world No. 1 who has been the top player on four worldwide tours, shared the lead going into the final round but fell back for good with a three-putt double bogey on the 12th. She closed with a 73 and tied for fifth.

Gabriela Ruffels (70) and Alison Lee (72) tied for third. Ruffels needed a birdie on the final hole to join the playoff.

Korda replaces Lilia Vu at the top of the women's world ranking.


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