Jessica Korda emulated her father, Petr, after winning
the Women’s Australian Open in a six-way playoff. Her
father won the Australian Open (tennis) in 1998.
Like Father, Like Daughter,
Kordas Enjoy Aussie Success
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA | She
became the sixth-youngest winner on
the LPGA Tour, but that was far from
Jessica Korda’s mind when she won a
dramatic Women’s Australian Open in
extraordinary circumstances at Royal
Melbourne on Sunday.
Not since 1999 – when Se Ri Pak triumphed at the Jamie Farr Classic – has
a six-way playoff been needed to find a
winner on the LPGA Tour.
And, with all six players remaining
alive for a second sudden-death tilt at
the 18th hole, it took a 25-foot curling
bomb from the 18-year-old to finally end
the season-opening dreams of So Yeon
Ryu, Brittany Lincicome, Stacy Lewis,
Julieta Granada and Hee Kyung Seo.
Yet, even all that was not the most
remarkable happening on a day of many.
Korda’s gripping victory emulated, as
far as possible, her father Petr’s 1998
Australian Open triumph in the same
city. Only his was in tennis. She repeated
her father’s famous scissor kick in the
presentation ceremony, reinforcing the
city’s meaning to her family.
“Dad and I spoke on Monday and he
said Melbourne had been good to him,”
Korda said. “When I was walking around
here and you have that (Melbourne) sign
on pretty much every green, it always
made me smile because it just reminds
me of the good times. So for my first
win, I honestly couldn’t have thought of a
It’s not the first time the LPGA Tour
has ventured to Australia – the La-
dies Masters on the Gold Coast was
co-sanctioned by the American body
for four years from 1997 – but hopes
are high that last week’s arrangement
will not only survive, but thrive into the
future. The LPGA season opener is part
of a three-tournament swing through
the Asia-Pacific, taking in Thailand and
Singapore in the next fortnight.
Yani Tseng said she almost cried
on Friday, but they would have been
crocodile tears after the tournament.
After starting her second round with
two birdies in the first three holes, it
seemed business as usual for the world
No. 1. But one wayward drive later on
the tough, dogleg left par- 4 seventh,
and the Taiwanese ace’s love affair with
Melbourne’s Sandbelt hit the rocks for
the first time in three years.
The dual-defending Open champ
took a penalty drop after a tugged drive
way left, then twice tried but failed to
play out of deep rough. By the time
Tseng chipped out sideways with her
fifth shot, the best she could muster
was a quadruple-bogey eight. She rallied and finished with two late birdies,
but still rued her decision not to go
back to the tee to hit her third shot.
‘’I just didn’t commit to the shot I
was going to hit on the tee box. My first
instinct was to go back (to the tee) and
it would have saved a couple of shots,”
rave reviews from the American visitors, not dissimilar to their male counterparts three months earlier.
World No. 10 Stacy Lewis typified
the sentiment: “I fell in love with the
place the first time I played it. You have
to be so creative and hit so many differ-
ent shots. I love that.”
World No. 4 Cristie Kerr was equally
effusive in her praise: “What a spec-
tacular golf course. It is one of the best
I’ve ever seen. The green complexes are
so severe and so fast, you really have to
know what you are doing out there.”
That love may have been tempered
through the week as the course muscled
up in strengthening winds. No fewer
than 22 players were under par in un-
usually calm conditions on Thursday.
But that number fell to 16 on Friday with
only nine players in red numbers overall.
By Saturday, only 10 players broke
par of 73, leaving nine under par
overall. The trend reversed on Sunday
with the greens softened by rain and 16
players broke 73 to leave nine players
under par for the week. l
she said. “I almost cried, I was try-
ing to make birdie to recover on eight,
but three-putted there and then made
bogey on nine, too.”
Tseng then limped along, includ-
ing a visit to the tour doctor before her
final round with abdominal pain, before
somehow finding herself back in the
fray late on Sunday afternoon.
Despite another sloppy triple-bogey
seven on the fourth hole, she caught fire
with four birdies in six holes, including
three in a row from 12-14, to suddenly be
within touching distance of the lead. But
the dagger finally came with back-to-back bogeys on 15 and 16, capping off a
week in which she missed an extraordinary five putts from within three feet.
Royal Melbourne was a major draw
for the world’s best female players,
many of whom said they’d been taken
by its history and the imposing face it
put forward in November’s Presidents
Cup. And the first elite-level women’s
professional tournament held at the
venerable course continued to draw