With historic round and dominant champion, LPGA Founders Cup brings rave reviews for NJ

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Not even a steady rain, nor her more ardent pursuers could shake Jin Young Ko on Saturday at Mountain Ridge Country Club in West Caldwell, where the South Korean tied a longtime LPGA record and successfully defended. the Cognizant Founders Cup.

Ko, ranked No.2 at Rolex Women’s Golf, played with precision and balance shooting a 66-of-5 under par to win her 10th career LPGA tournament and the third of her last six starts.

Her 72-hole tally of 18 under 266 finished four strokes ahead of German runner-up Caroline Masson, who did her best to apply some pressure on Ko, but finished second at 14 under after a brilliant by 64 of 7 under Sunday.

Ko was just too good. She never gave up leading the $ 3million tournament after a 63rd first round on Thursday. No one fired within three shots on Sunday. Ko’s 63-68-69-66 rounds on the tough 6,612-yard route give her 14 straight rounds in the ’60s, tying the record set by Annika Sorenstam in 2005 and last tied by So Yeon Ryu ( 2016 to 2017).

“I (felt) a lot of pressure on the course. I knew I was the defending champion and I knew (roughly) the ’60s score to (match) Annika’s record and the wire-to-wire, “said Ko, who won $ 450,000 for victory. “So I had a lot of pressure on the course today.”

She showed no signs of pressure, especially in the last nine, where she buried any chance someone would catch her or make a contest out of it. When the rain started to fall the hardest, Ko played her best, registering birdies on four of the five holes starting at 12th par-4 where she buried a 3-footer for a birdie to maintain a four-foot lead. blows.

When Ko birdied again at the 15th par-3, she was holding a five-stroke lead with three holes left. Everyone was playing for the second.

“I played well,” Ko said. “I just tried to focus on my body and my swing. I don’t want to look at the scoreboard and the other players. I’m just talking to myself on the course.

With a setup resembling a major championship, Mountain Ridge was ready to test the best female golfers in the world. Covered clouds and soggy skies created balmy conditions and exposed the growing talent of the women’s circuit. Fifty-nine players finished under the tournament.

“I love this class,” Ko said, adding it reminded him of classes in Canada. “I love the fairways and the greens are perfect. I am happy.”

Despite the wet end where squeegees were used to clean up puddles from some greens, reviews from Mountain Ridge and New Jersey hospitality were positive.

The Founders Cup moved from Arizona to New Jersey this year and added Cognizant as a partner. Most players wouldn’t mind if this was a permanent partnership.

“I mean the food this week, everyone has been so friendly and accommodating,” said Lindsey Weaver, who finished T6 after an average of 71 on Sunday. “It’s a very good place for us. I love golf courses like this.

Ko revealed that she had been playing for four weeks with a new putter she bought in Korea. His goal was to have no more than 30 putts on Sunday. She was 27 and joined Nelly Korda as the only three-time winner of the season.

“My goal was a lap without a bogey,” said Ko, who only had one bogey, “and hit a lot of greens.”

Masson’s putter got hot over the last nine with three consecutive birdies over one stretch and five birdies over seven holes. It was his best lap in three years. But whenever there was a hint of threatening Ko, the boss would make his own birdie. Elizabeth Szokol was third under 11 after a 69 on Sunday. Norda was T19 at 5 cents.

George Willis is a freelance writer.


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