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Nelly Korda dominates LPGA tour as she captures 6th win in last 7 starts

By Homero De la Fuente, CNN

(CNN) — For the sixth time in her past seven starts, women’s world No. 1 Nelly Korda is raising a trophy, this time after outlasting Australia’s Hannah Green to win the Mizuho Americas Open by one stroke Sunday at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Korda’s victory makes her the first LPGA Tour golfer since Inbee Park in 2013 to tally six victories in a season and the first American since 1990 when Beth Daniel won seven times.

“Oh, my gosh, six, I can’t even really gather myself right now with that, the head-to-head that Hannah (Green) and I had pretty much all day,” Korda said. “Wasn’t my best stuff out there today but fought really hard on the back nine.”

A week after Rose Zhang snapped Korda’s record-tying streak of five victories in five starts at the Cognizant Founders Classic, the eighth-year LPGA Tour golfer slowly climbed the leaderboard throughout the tournament, after trailing by four strokes after the first round.

Then came moving day, where Korda rounded into the form expected from the top-ranked women’s golfer, battling through wind and light rain to post a blistering 7-under 65 to sit at 13-under for a two-stroke lead over the world No. 2 Green.

On Friday, the now 14-time LPGA Tour winner improved on her score by carding a 4-under 68 to move from 17th place into a tie for third place heading into the weekend.

Sunday’s round did not prove easy for Korda after an early birdie by Green on the first hole and a bogey by the American on the second hole leveled the two golfers at 12-under.

The two-time major champion regained her lead with a birdie on the fourth hole, but then ran into trouble, bogeying the fifth and seventh holes to drop to 11-under and one shot back of Green, a five-time LPGA Tour winner.

Following a bogey by Green on the eighth hole, the two were tied again for the lead, along with Ayaka Furue, who momentarily moved into first place.

“Yeah, definitely was not a good start to the day,” Korda said. “Just couldn’t get anything going, and Jay actually told me to pretty much get my head out of my um and to reset and to start fresh. There were opportunities that I could take advantage of on the back nine and it was still a tight race.

“Even though I was 2-over, I was still tied for the lead, so it’s not like I was completely discouraged with my play. Overall, you know, definitely tough start to the day and then grind it out on the back nine.”

Korda and Green matched each other’s scores over the next nine holes, with birdies on the 10th, 13th and 15th holes, respectively, to set up a tournament-deciding 18th.

The American teed off into the fairway on the par-4 final hole, while Green pulled her shot left into the rough. The Australian again found herself in the rough on her approach shot, while Korda held her nerve to get her second shot within 15 feet of the hole.

Green chipped her third shot over a bunker to fall on the green and set up a lengthy putt attempt for par. Meanwhile, Korda two-putted in for par to shift the pressure over to Green, who missed her potential tournament-extending putt.

“It was just amazing to share the stage with Hannah,” Korda said. “I consider her a pretty good friend out here, and it was a lot of fun going head-to-head against her.”

Korda shot a final-round 71 to finish at 14-under for the one-stroke victory over Green. Chanettee Wannasaen, Ariya Jutanugarn, Jennifer Kupcho and Gabriela Ruffels all tied for third place.

With the victory, Korda ties Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam as players to win six events fastest in a season; Sorenstam won six titles in eight starts in 2005.

The next tournament is the US Women’s Open from May 30-June 2 at Lancaster Country Club in Pennsylvania.

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