Korda wins Bahamas LPGA Classic
Sunday, January 26, 2014
PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas — Jessica Korda laughed about her winning up-and-down and being sprayed with shaving cream. She choked up, too, thinking about her cancer-stricken coach.
The 20-year-old Korda won the season-opening Bahamas LPGA Classic on Sunday for her second tour title, holing a 6-foot birdie putt on the final hole to beat Stacy Lewis by a stroke.
Korda recently started working again with Grant Price after struggling with a swing she felt led to left shoulder and wrist injuries.
“Grant means so much to me,” Korda said. “He’s so positive, and that’s really kind of shown. It’s given me a lot of confidence this week. His positivity, and he’s like, ‘You’re going to be ready for this week. You’re going to be ready for this week.’ … Him being on the range and constantly kind of encouraging the positive in me, into my mind, it helped me so much.”
Price, Hall of Famer Nick Price’s nephew, is fighting testicular cancer.
“I’ve known Grant since I was 15 years old, so I know how it is and what’s going on,” Korda said. “But first thing I did, and I asked him, I was like, ‘Can you help me? And if you can’t, it’s completely OK. Like, ‘If you don’t feel up to it, then it’s fine.’ Like, ‘I don’t mind, but I need to know if you’re going to be OK first.’ And that’s how every practice started.”
Korda closed with a 7-under 66 for a 19-under 273 total at Atlantis Resort’s Ocean Club.
The third-ranked Lewis parred the final four holes — two of them par 5s — for a 66.
Korda tied Lewis for the lead with a 12-foot birdie putt on the par-3 17th, then got up-and-down for birdie on the par-5 18th. Korda’s 4-iron approach on 18 scampered through the green and up against the grandstand. She took relief from the grandstand and, with an official and a TV announcer holding up cords that would have interfered with her stroke, putted under the wires to set up the winning birdie.
“That was different,” Korda said. “It was like jump rope. … It was like Double Dutch. I was jumping over wires with people holding onto them. It was really funny.”
She passed on a drop that would have moved her away from the cables.
“It wasn’t a hard decision at all,” Korda said. “I felt I had a good lie there. It looked too difficult on either side, so I just stayed right where I was. I remember when I had the pleasure of playing with Jack Nicklaus, he told me a bad putt is always better than a bad chip.”
After the winning putt, she was sprayed with shaving cream — courtesy of tournament sponsor Pure Silk.
“I smell really good. It smells really good,” said Korda.
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