Jin Young Ko was four shots back heading into the final round the Cognizant Founders Cup in May. She would go on to win there, which is tied for the largest comeback on the LPGA this season.
To start the final round of the CPKC Women’s Open in Canada on Sunday, Ko was 6 under, five shots back of leader Meghan Kang. Was another large come-from-behind win in the making?
On the 18t hole, Ko missed the green left with her approach but got up-and-down for par to finish at 9 under, good for the clubhouse lead.
Moments later, Kang, who was at 8 under after a bogey on No. 17, had her best shot of the week, stuffing her second shot on the challenging closing hole to about five feet. There had been only four birdies all day on the 18th hole and Kang needed to make the fifth in order to force a playoff.
Seeking her first LPGA win in her 191st career start, Kang then calmly poured in the putt to post a 2-over 74 and get into her first career playoff.
On the first playoff hole, Ko teed off first but pulled her tee shot left. Kang striped hers down the middle of the fairway, then hit an approach similar to the one she had in regulation, her ball rolling a little farther and nestling just into the fringe. Ko’s third shot, meanwhile, found a greenside bunker and after blasting out, she faced a 40-footer for bogey but missed, and ended up taking a 6 on the hole.
That set the stage for Kang, who putted from the fringe to about a foot before holing out for par to seal the deal on her first LPGA victory.
“My game has kind of been trending and has matured in the last couple of years,” she told Golf Channel on the 18th green moments after winning. “It was juts a matter of time.”
Kang, already locked into a Solheim Cup spot for the U.S. team, said she spoke with other members of that squad who have tasted victory for some inspiration.
“I’m pumped to finally get the first one,” she said.
Kang is the ninth first-time winner on the LPGA in 2023.