Kupcho captures Meijer LPGA Classic in playoff
June 20, 2022 10:30 AM
Jennifer Kupcho survived a roller coaster of a round to win the Meijer LPGA Classic with a birdie at the second playoff hole, denying 2021 champion Nelly Korda and Irish Solheim Cup star Leona Maguire.
After failing to clinch the playoff at the first hole -- where she missed an eagle putt from inside four feet, Kupcho two-putted from the fringe at the second playoff hole, again the par-five 18th, to seal it.
Maguire had a chance to extend the playoff, but her two-foot birdie putt lipped out.
Korda was eliminated with a par at the first playoff hole as both Kupcho and Maguire came up with birdies.
"It's been really special," said Kupcho, who added a second LPGA victory to the major title she captured at the Chevron Championship in April.
"I mean, this leaderboard was stacked. I think that's what I'm most proud of is the players that were up there with me -- it was a very close battle to the end and I'm proud of it."
Kupcho started the day one off Korda's lead and was in trouble early with a double bogey at the third and a bogey at the sixth.
She regrouped to card a one-under-par 71 for an 18-under total of 270, where she was joined by Korda -- who needed a birdie at the 72nd hole to cap an even par round and make the playoff -- and Maguire, who stormed to the top with a seven-under par 65.
New Zealand's former world number one Lydia Ko was alone in fourth after a bogey-free 68 for 271.
Kupcho, who opened the week with a career-best 63 and also led after the second round, rolled in a long eagle putt to start turning things around at the eighth. She added a birdie at the ninth then saw another long birdie putt curl just enough to drop into the side of the cup at 12.
She would add another birdie to take a one-shot lead, but a bogey at 16 dropped her back into a tie.
Korda had her own troubles early with bogeys at the fourth and ninth, but she bounced back with birdies at 10 and 12 before a bogey at 13 -- where she was unable to get up and down from a greenside bunker.
The American, who was playing her second tournament since a four-month absence to treat a blood clot in her left arm, forced her way into the playoff with a birdie at the 72nd hole, where she chipped to two feet.
But it was Maguire, who won her first LPGA title at the Drive On Championship in Miami in February, who went into the playoff with all the momentum after a superb round that featured eight birdies, the last one giving her the clubhouse lead.
Her steady rise was a marked contrast to the fortunes of US star Lexi Thompson, who had the solo lead after her fourth birdie of the day on 10 but fell back with three bogeys coming in.