BELMONT, Mitch. (AP) – After missing a 2-foot eagle shot in the first hole of the playoffs, Jennifer Kupcho won the LPGA Meijer Classic on Sunday when Leona Maguire’s 3-foot bird attempt retreated to the second extra hole.
Kupcho finished 1-under 71 to tie partner Nelly Korda and Maguire at 18-under 270 at Blythefield Country Club. Maguire finished 65 and knocked out both playoff holes.
“It’s really special,” Kupcho said. “I was very close, but this ranking was arranged. I think that’s what I’m most proud of, the players who were there with me. It was a very close battle to the end and I am proud of that. “
Korda, last year’s winner, was 72 after taking the lead with one shot ahead of Kupcho in the final round. Korda dropped out of the playoffs with money from three strokes on the first extra trip after par-5 on the 18th.
Kupcho won the LPGA Tour for the second time, after his big victory in early April at Mission Hills in the California desert. The 25-year-old former Wake Forest star from Colorado won the first Augusta National Women Amateur tournament in 2019.
Kupcho started slowly with a double mascot on par-4 third and a carriage on par-4 sixth. She bounced with an eagle on par-5 eighth and a birdie on par-4 ninth. On the back nine she birds par-4 12th and par-5 14th and hits par-4 16th.
“I struggled a little at first, so he tells me I can really come back from it,” Kupcho said. “I always knew I was a back-nine player and that definitely came into force today.”
Maguire won the LPGA Drive On Championship at Crown Colony in early February to become the first Irish winner in the history of the LPGA Tour.
The second-ranked Korda made his second start after returning from a four-month break due to a clot in his left arm. She tied eighth two weeks ago at the US Women’s Open in her first event since early February.
“Unfortunately, sometimes you have it, and sometimes you don’t,” Korda said. “If you tell me that three or four months ago, when I was in the emergency department, I would be extremely happy.
Korda is also defending the title next week at the KPGA Women’s PGA in Congress.
Lydia Co. was fourth at 17 after 68.
Lexi Thompson, the 2015 winner, finished with 70 to equal the fifth in 16 fewer with Jessica Corda (67), Nelly’s older sister, and Carlotta Siganda (67) and Ataya Titicul (68). .
“Of course, this is not the result I wanted, but I felt strong all week and played great golf and nothing but positives to get into a big event next week,” said Thompson.
Brooke Henderson of Smith Falls, Ontario, winner of the ShopRite LPGA Classic last week in New Jersey and 2017 and 2019 champion in Blythefield, had 72 to finish 15 less.
Minji Lee, winner of the US Women’s Open, was 11 years old after 74.