12 Feb 2012
American Jessica Korda has won the ISPS HANDA Australian Open at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club after a dramatic six-way playoff.
Korda started well but faded to post a one-over 74 for Sunday, forcing her into a playoff with compatriots Stacy Lewis and Brittany Linicome, South Korean pair So Yeon Ryu and Hee Kyung Seo and Paraguay's Julieta Granada after they all finished with overall scores of three-under-par.
Every player made par on the first playoff hole, before a birdie on the second sealed victory for the 18-year-old Korda.
After three birdies from the first eight holes, Korda looked likely to cruise to victory.
But disaster struck on the par four ninth, when she produced a double-bogey, and four more bogeys on the back nine followed, leaving her with a score of 74.
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.
Both 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.
The tense nature of the playoff did not seem to affect the players, who all made par on the first hole and looked relatively comfortable.
Lewis lipped out in her attempt to win it on the first playoff hole but it was Korda who stole the show with a tremendous birdie putt on the second.
Korda – who is the daughter of 1998 Australian Open tennis champion Petr – becomes the first American to win the tournament since Debbie Austin's triumph at the Manly Golf Club in 1978.