Jin Young Ko Wins 15th LPGA Tour Title After Minjee Lee Three-Putt
A three-putt in a playoff from Minjee Lee handed Jin Young Ko her third Founders Cup title and second LPGA Tour win of 2023.
Former World No.1 Ko birdied the 72nd hole in regulation to force Minjee Lee to finish par-par for a playoff and the pair went back to the 18th to decide the title.
Lee was well inside her Korean rival for birdie but her effort from around 15ft ran a good six-feet by and she pushed the resulting par putt well wide of the hole.
It left Jin Young Ko with a mere tap-in to secure her 15th LPGA Tour title and a brilliant comeback after starting the day four strokes back of Minjee Lee at Upper Montclair Country Club in New Jersey.
Ko posted a bogey-free final round of 67 with five birdies and 13 pars, reaching 13-under-par to match Minjee Lee. The Korean won this event for the third time after also triumphing in 2019 and 2021, and she took home $450,000 with her victory.
Lee began the day with a three-stroke lead but dropped back after a double bogey on the par 3 6th. She rallied with four birdies in her next nine holes but a costly bogey on the par 3 16th left her needing a birdie on one of her final two holes to beat the charging Ko.
"Obviously I'm a little bit disappointed, but I think I can take more of the happy moments into the next stretch of events and the rest of the year," Lee said after by far her best finish of the year so far.
"So I'm not totally unhappy but obviously I would've liked a better result."
AIG Women's Open winner Ashleigh Buhai was third at 10-under-par.
Ko said she was inspired by Sungjae Im, who won on the Korean PGA Tour this past weekend.
"Last night, this morning I watched something highlight that was Sungjae Im, he's a PGA Tour player. He's Korean. He played Korea tournament this week and he won," she said. "He was five shots behind the lead and he made it to win, so that inspired me.
"Yeah, I was four shots behind lead, but if I really played well like Sungjae I could have chance to win, so I really focus myself, yeah."