AMERICAN teenager Jessica Korda won the 2012 Women’s Australian Open with a sensational seven-metre birdie putt on the second playoff hole on Sunday.
The 18 year old was part of an extraordinary six-way playoff as the Royal Melbourne golf course refused to make anything easy for the final day competitors.
The six lady golfers needed two goes at the 18th hole for one of them to finally make a winning birdie putt.
In the end it was perhaps fitting that Korda prevailed. Her father Petr won the Australian Open tennis title in Melbourne in 1998.
“I was so, so nervous,” she said later. “I really wanted to make that birdie, but it took a couple more tries.”
Korda (74) had started the day a stroke ahead and looked to be cruising when she led by two strokes after eight holes but then a double bogey on the ninth and four more on the back appeared to have ended her tilt at her first professional win.
The South Korean pair So Yeon Ryu and Hee Kyung Seo, the 2011 US Open champion and runner-up respectively, had the title between them for all money when they arrived at the 18th hole a stroke ahead of the field.
Inexplicably, they both three putted for bogeys, leaving six players on three under in regulation at the top of the leaderboard.
That included the Koreans, Korda, Americans Stacy Lewis and Brittany Lincicome and Paraguay’s Julieta Granada.
They split into two groups and all six parred the first playoff hole, the 18th. Korda’s sweeping downhill putt at their second attempt ended the drama.
”Dad and I spoke on Monday,” Korda said. ”He was saying Melbourne’s been good to him … It’s a really special place for my family. For my first win, I honestly couldn’t have thought of a better place.”
Lewis – who was the tournament co-leader after day one – was the best performed player over the 18 holes of regulation play, with four birdies seeing her shoot 70, while Lincicome and Granada both finished with 71.
Ryu and Seo finished with an even-par score of 73 while fellow South Korean Jenny Shin finished at two-under in outright seventh.
American Katie Futcher and world number one Yani Tseng – who won the Australian Open in 2010 and 2011 – were a shot further back in a tie for eighth.
Nikki Campbell and Sarah Kemp were the best of the Australians, both finishing at one-over in a tie for 12th.2012 ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open Final Results