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US golfer Korda defends Taiwan Swinging Skirts LPGA crown

Nelly Korda of the U.S. displays her Taiwan Swinging Skirts LPGA Championship trophy Nov. 3 in New Taipei City. (Courtesy of SSGF)
Nelly Korda of the U.S. displays her Taiwan Swinging Skirts LPGA Championship trophy Nov. 3 in New Taipei City. (Courtesy of SSGF)
 
Nelly Korda of the U.S. successfully defended her Swinging Skirts LPGA Championship title Nov. 3 in New Taipei City, edging out Mingee Lee of Australia and Caroline Masson of Germany.
 
Virtually untouchable over the first two rounds, Kora finished the third with a three-shot lead. But her commanding position eroded after mixing two birdies with two bogeys on the final day of play.
 
Korda made par in the fourth round with 72 strokes, while Lee and Masson closed the gap with 69 and 68, respectively, to tie for first at 18-under after regulation.
 
The first playoff hole in the tournament’s nine-year history saw Korda regroup with a birdie, precise 5-hybrid and two putts to take home the winner’s check of US$330,000. Lee, last year’s second-place getter, and Masson tied for second.
 
Korda, who won the Women’s Australian Open in February, is the Swinging Skirts first playoff winner and defending champion since Suzanne Pettersen of Norway won back-to-back events in 2012 and 2013.
 
Among homegrown talents, Hsu Wei-ling lived up to her potential and gave hint of things to come by shooting an eagle and finishing 19th overall with an eight-under par—the highest ranking of a local entrant.
 
According to tournament organizer Swinging Skirts Golf Foundation, the four-day annual event attracted nearly 67,000 spectators, up 19.64 percent year on year. The final round was thronged by an estimated 37,000 fans. 
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