by Jeff Skinner
The LPGA’s 2014 season got off to a great start with a thrilling finish at the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic. Jessica Korda made a birdie four on eighteen to finish at nineteen under par and one stroke ahead of world number three Stacy Lewis.
Korda started the day tied for third and three shots behind leader Na Yeon Choi. But Korda’s play down the stretch enabled her to tie Lewis who had worked her way into the lead. Korda birdied three of her last four holes to earn her second career LPGA Tour win. With Lewis in at -18 Korda needed birdie at eighteen to win.
She got some help with her third shot on the par five final hole. With her approach shot over the green and close to the grandstand she looked to be in a bit of trouble. But with an assist from some volunteers who held cables off the ground and out of her way she putted through the rough, under the cables and onto the green leaving it six feet from the hole.
She punched the air as her winning putt fell and soon was doused with a some Pure Silk shaving cream by her friends in celebration. Korda had little trouble on eighteen all week playing it in five under par with three birdies and an eagle.
Korda had little thought of chipping from behind the green as she referenced a tip Jack Nicklaus had given her in 2012,”I felt I had a good lie there. It looked too difficult on either side, so I just stayed right where I was. I remember when I had the pleasure of playing with Jack Nicklaus, he told me a bad putt is always better than a bad chip.”
Lewis felt she had let one get away as she couldn’t take advantage of the eighteenth hole managing only one birdie there all week. “It’s very frustrating.” Lewis said, “The 18th hole has gotten me the last couple tournaments. I’ve had so many chances to win. It’s very frustrating, but to finish second a lot of weeks in a row, you’re not doing anything really wrong. That’s what I’m taking out of it is I’m doing a lot of stuff right. There’s more events and there’s bigger tournaments this summer, so I’m just going to take this momentum from here.” It is her tenth second place finish on the LPGA Tour.