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Korda in stunning comeback triumph


Jessica Korda not only went wire-to-wire when she won the Honda LPGA Thailand at Chonburi on Sunday, she also smashed the tournament record on her way to winning her 5th LPGA title and her first since 2015. 

And all this after coming out an offseason in which she had undergone double jaw surgery in order to cure her of the frequent headaches that had dogged her 2017 season. 

What a triumphant return! It was no wonder she was ecstatic. 

"I can't believe it, the 21-year-old American said afterwards. "Today was such a blur, I was just trying to make birdies. I tried to relax, but I was nervous. This (Honda LPGA Thailand) was the first event of my rookie year and I played really, really well this week." 

On her way to making a total of 25 birdies and three eagles for the week, Korda shot a final round 5-under 67 to close with a record 25-under total and beat fellow American Lex Thompson and one of the local Thai favourites, Moriya Jutanugarn, by all of four shots. 

Thompson, who was bidding for a victory that could have enabled her to capture the No 1 World Ranking from China's Shanshan Feng, closed with a sizzling 64 and a 267 total to tie for second with Jutanugarn (67), whose sister Ariya, tied for 5th place with Feng. 

Australia's Minjee Lee finished in between the sisters in solo 4th place, seven shots off the pace. 

Korda had no expectations heading into the week other than to get up some steam and find some momentum, but she had certainly found plenty of that when she teed off or the final round on Sunday. She was leading by four strokes. 

She started Sunday a little slowly, mixing two birdies with a bogey over the front nine, but when she saw Moriya Jutanugarn get within two shots after the turn, she quickly hotted up and three killer birdies at 11, 13 and 15 made sure she would not be caught again. 

Thompson started the day well aware of the projection that a solo second place with Feng back in 5th place or worse would see her capture Feng's World No 1 crown for the first time - and she clearly went after it, shooting a stunning, bogey-free 8-under 64. 

But when Feng made birdie on 18 to post a 6-under 66 and finish in a share of fifth place, it all came down to the final hole which Jutanugarn birdied to snatch a last-gasp share of second place with Thompson and end the American's brave bid for the No 1 spot. 

Thompson does look sure, however, to go from No 4 to No 2 in the world with Feng remaining at No. 1 for a 16th straight week when the rankings are updated this coming week. 


263 Jessica Korda (USA) 66 62 68 67
267 Lexi Thompson (USA) 66 68 69 64, Moriya Jutanugarn (THA) 66 69 65 67
270 Minjee Lee (AUS) 66 67 68 69
271 Shanshan Feng (CHN) 69 68 68 66, Ariya Jutanugarn (THA) 68 69 65 69
272 Jin Young Ko (KOR) 73 67 68 64, Pornanong Phatlum (THA) 69 69 70 64, Brooke M. Henderson (CAN) 67 68 70 67, Brittany Lincicome (USA) 67 65 73 67 
273 Michelle Wie (USA) 68 67 69 69
274 Megan Khang (USA) 67 69 69 69
275 Charley Hull (ENG) 70 70 69    66
276 Azahara Munoz (ESP) 69 68 71 68, Austin Ernst (USA) 71 67 69 69, Nicole Broch Larsen (DEN) 70 67 68 71, Nelly Korda USA) 70 69 65 72, Amy Yang (KOR) 67 69 68 72.
277 Anna Nordqvist (SWE) 70 70    69 68, Carlota Ciganda (ESP) 70 69 69 69, Danielle Kang (USA) 68 70 70 69. 

For betting odds visit BetWay

Neville Leck

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