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Korda wins ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open
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American Jessica Korda won her first professional title at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open with a birdie on the second sudden death play-off hole at Royal Melbourne where she eliminated five other players.

Korda, whose father Petr won the Australian Open tennis championship in 1998, started the day with a one stroke lead and shot a final round of one over 74 before making a 25-foot putt in the play-off to secure the win on an afternoon of persistent rain showers.

Korda defeated Americans Stacy Lewis (70) and Brittany Lincicome (71), Paraguayan Julieta Granada (71), and South Koreans Hee Kyung Seo (73) and So Yeon Ryu (73) in the six-way playoff for the title.

Jessica and Petr Korda have now completed a rare father-daughter dual sport Australian Open double.

“When we spoke on Monday Dad said Melbourne had been good to him. As I was walking around here, there was a Melbourne sign on every green. It made me smile because it reminds me of the good times. I love watching Melbourne tennis. I watched all the time. It is a really special place for my family. For my first win, I honestly could not have thought of a better place,” said Korda, aged 18 years , 11 months and 16 days.

On her father’s reaction, she revealed: “That he was so proud of me and we'll talk about the three-putts after.”

 

Korda had a steady front nine but a string of three straight bogeys from the 14th led to intense drama over the play-off hole, the 18th.

 

Of the playoff, Korda said: “I was thinking really clearly. I had one concept in my head...I was really calm. I knew what the putt did because I'd had it before and it did not move. I was a little higher up and more to the right. I knew the line and I knew the speed. All I had to do was just hit it. It started breaking. I thought, Oh my goodness no, don't lip out, don't break too early. I don't even know what side of the hole it hit. I was overwhelmed by everything.”

The second year LPGA professional from Bradenton, Florida, is now unofficially projected to move from No. 285 to No. 30 on the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings. Her previous best finish was a tie for 16th at the 2011 Avnet LPGA Classic.

 

Jessica Korda interview, Sunday 12 February 2012:

Congratulations. How do you feel?

Overwhelmed.

Did you speak to your Dad?

I did. I got to speak to everybody except my brother who I think was sleeping. I was surprised that my sister was up. It was awesome.

What did your Dad say to you?

That he was so proud of me and we'll talk about the three-putts after.

What were you thinking as you stood over the putt on the 74th hole? Were you thinking clearly?

I was thinking really clearly. I had one concept in my head...I was really calm. I knew what the putt did because I'd had it before and it did not move. I was a little higher up and more to the right. I knew the line and I knew the speed. All I had to do was just hit it. It started breaking. I thought, Oh my goodness no, don't lip out, don't break too early. I don't even know what side of the hole it hit. I was overwhelmed by everything.

What about earlier in the afternoon? Did you think you had missed your chance?

I think I bogeyed three holes in a row. I thought, You've got to be kidding me. I was lipping out and not reading my putts correctly. But I thought, Come on, you can still get it back. I was talking to Damon and Simon (caddies) as I was walking off the tee on 17. Simon said, Come on, have a strong finish...I was walking down the fairway like an absolute goof. After I made the birdie I was okay, like, I can do this. I can birdie the last hole. I saw the girls making mistakes on the green. I saw the opportunity but unfortunately I did not read the putt correctly.

You ran from the 16th green to the 17th tee.

I was kind of upset. I needed to let off some steam. The way I throw of steam is I go for a run. It calmed me down. I was running around the parking lot this morning too. I was doing circles around the cars.

You've won your first LPGA event at the age of 18. What does it mean to you?

A lot of the hard work I put in in the off season, all the times I was down last year, it is all worth it. It made me grow up. It made me realise that you've got to change your life to live out here and this is proof. I know that all the hard hours I put in and will keep putting in are really worth it. Every moment.

Do you get an exemption on the LPGA for the win?

I have no idea. I have not looked into that.

Did you do the kick your father did when he won here?

I did, in the ceremony.

Was it as high as Dad?

We'll see. I don't know.

Have you thought about that double?

When we spoke on Monday Dad said Melbourne had been good to him. As I was walking around here, there was a Melbourne sign on every green. It made me smile because it reminds me of the good times. I love watching Melbourne tennis. I watched all the time. It is a really special place for my family. For my first win, I honestly could not have thought of a better place.

You have been here for four weeks. Did you feel you game was building?

As I said, I was working really hard in the off season and taking a lot of money off my friends. I felt good. I got sick in Canberra. I finished my antibiotics two days ago. I was not doing well with my health. I was stuffy and coughing and really tired. Missing the cut on the Gold Coast was actually a

blessing in disguise. It gave me time to rest. I had been playing well. It was time to take the rust off and get healthy.

Was it a flu virus?

I have no idea. I flew into Canberra and two days later I had a sore throat. I thought it was allergies but it was not.

Scores after round 4 of the ISPS HANDA Australian Open being played at the par 73, 5976 Metres Royal Melbourne GC course (a- denotes amateur):

Korda won with a birdie on the second play-off hole

289: Jessica Korda (USA) 72 70 73 74, Stacy Lewis (USA) 69 73 77 70, Julieta Granada (PAR) 70 72 76 71, Brittany Lincicome (USA) 70 75 73 71, Hee Kyung Seo (KOR) 75 66 75 73, So Yeon Ryu (KOR) 71 69 76 73.

290: Jenny Shin (KOR) 72 74 74 70.

291: Katie Futcher (USA) 74 72 71 74, Yani Tseng (TPE) 70 76 71 74.

292: Anna Nordqvist (SWE) 76 77 71 68, Beatriz Recari (ESP) 76 72 72 72.

293: Caroline Hedwall (SWE) 73 77 74 69, Eun-Hee Ji (KOR) 72 79 71 71, Sarah Kemp (AUS) 69 79 73 72, Sophie Giquel-Bettan (FRA) 72 74 74 73, Melissa Reid (ENG) 71 71 77 74, Nikki Campbell (AUS) 72 74 70 77.

294: Jiyai Shin (KOR) 72 74 74 74.

295: Lydia Ko (am, NZL) 74 76 72 73, Cydney Clanton (USA) 74 72 75 74.

296: Mina Harigae (USA) 78 72 74 72.

297: Suzann Pettersen (NOR) 80 71 74 72, Lorie Kane (CAN) 72 73 72 80.

298: Kristy McPherson (USA) 76 75 76 71, Ha-Neul Kim (KOR) 77 71 77 73, Jennifer Song (USA) 74 79 73 72, Meaghan Francella (USA) 73 76 75 74, Kyeong Bae (KOR) 77 75 72 74, Mo Martin (USA) 76 73 74 75, Lexi Thompson (USA) 74 74 75 75.

299: Ryann O'Toole (USA) 76 75 78 70, Azahara Munoz (ESP) 76 75 76 72, Chella Choi (KOR) 74 79 73 73, Morgan Pressel (USA) 76 74 75 74, Jennifer Johnson (USA) 73 75 75 76, Angela Stanford (USA) 75 74 73 77.

300: Lee-Anne Pace (RSA) 75 74 78 73, Alison Walshe (USA) 74 79 74 73, Giulia Sergas (ITA) 74 79 72 75.

301: Victoria Tanco (ARG) 72 75 82 72, Brittany Lang (USA) 74 77 76 74, Cindy LaCrosse (USA) 77 74 74 76.

302: Jody Fleming (AUS) 74 78 79 71, Meena Lee (KOR) 76 74 77 75, Becky Morgan (WAL) 77 71 78 76, Gwladys Nocera (FRA) 74 74 75 79.

303: Stephanie Na (AUS) 80 72 80 71, Lindsey Wright (AUS) 79 74 77 73, Rebecca Lee-Bentham (CAN) 73 80 73 77, Belen Mozo (ESP) 72 77 76 78.

304: Cristie Kerr (USA) 75 78 76 75, Sandra Gal (GER) 71 74 83 76, Jimin Kang (KOR) 72 79 77 76, Gerina Piller (USA) 72 77 78 77, Beth Allen (USA) 77 75 73 79.

305: Hee-Won Han (KOR) 74 79 78 74, Ashleigh Simon (RSA) 72 81 77 75, Tiffany Joh (USA) 78 74 77 76, Christine Song (USA) 78 74 74 79, Karrie Webb (AUS) 75 75 75 80.

306: Katherine Hull (AUS) 81 72 77 76, Annie Choi (am, KOR) 75 76 78 77, Cathleen Santoso (am, AUS) 75 75 78 78, Su-Hyun Oh (am, AUS) 76 77 74 79, Amanda Blumenherst (USA) 74 78 73 81.

307: Jodi Ewart (ENG) 75 77 78 77, Danielle Kang (USA) 75 76 78 78.

308: Janice Moodie (SCO) 73 80 76 79.

309: Joanna Klatten (FRA) 74 78 80 77, Sandra Changkija (USA) 75 72 77 85.

312: Alison Whitaker (AUS) 77 76 78 81, Karin Sjodin (SWE) 77 76 76 83.

313: Lynnette Brooky (NZL) 78 72 82 81.

END.

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