Jin Young Ko grabbed her towel walking up to the 18th green to wipe her eyes. The emotion of the past year was written on her face. After an injury to her left wrist wrecked her 2022 season, Ko defended her title at the HSBC Women’s World Championship, calling it the most important victory of her career.
When it was over, she doubled over on the final green as the tears poured out.
“It’s going to be big momentum for me in my life,” said Ko, who closed with a 69 to beat Nelly Korda by two strokes and win for the first time in 12 months.
Tears of joy
Jin young Ko wins the 2023 @HWWCGolf! 🏆 pic.twitter.com/gWzPE46jIA
— LPGA (@LPGA) March 5, 2023
Ko has now won at least one title in each of the past six seasons. The 27-year-old has 14 career LPGA titles, including two majors. A $270,000 winner’s check moves her to 22nd on the LPGA career money list, passing Yani Tseng and Ariya Jutanugarn with $10,680,535.
Sentosa Golf Club received a month’s worth of rain in one week as LPGA players endured a number of rain delays, the last of which occurred on Sunday when the final group was on the 16th hole.
“I actually didn’t honestly know if we were going to finish the last hole,” said Korda, who made birdie on 18 to jump into solo second. Danielle Kang, Allisen Corpuz and Ayaka Furue finished in a share of third.
The showdown between Ko and Korda is what many fans expected to play out all last season before health issues set them both back.
“It’s always hard to play with Nelly, especially on Sunday” said Ko. “We’ve been playing together yesterday, and today was second time. We had a lot of times to play in 2021. She hits farther than last year, I think. So I don’t look at her ball. I didn’t look at her ball or her playing. It’s hard but love to compete with Nelly.”
This marked the 15th playing of the HSBC, known as “Asia’s major.” All but two players who have won in Singapore are major champions. Ko now joins Inbee Park, who is out on maternity leave, as the only two-time champions.
Ko pushed back her winter training in December to rest her wrist and went to Europe to see the Northern Lights in Finland and tour The Louvre in Paris.
“I think it brings good luck for me because it’s really hard to see…
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