Nelly Korda hits from the tee on the ninth hole during the second round of play in the KPMG Women's PGA Championship golf tournament Friday, June 25, 2021, in Johns Creek, Ga. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Nelly Korda wins Women’s PGA to move to No. 1 in world

Nelly Korda wins Women’s PGA to move to No. 1 in world

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. (AP) — Nelly Korda powered her way to her first major championship Sunday with a performance worthy of her new status as the No. 1 player in women’s golf.

Korda nearly holed out with a 7-wood from 243 yards for a tap-in eagle, and the 22-year-old American seized control by using her length from that graceful swing for another eagle that sent her to victory in KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.

She finished with a 15-foot par putt for a 4-under 68, giving her a three-shot victory over Lizette Salas at the Atlanta Athletic Club. At 19-under 269, she tied the Women’s PGA record to par last matched by Inbee Park at Westchester Country Club in 2015.

Korda won for the second straight week on the LPGA Tour — her third this year — and it was enough to become the first American at No. 1 in the women’s world ranking since Stacy Lewis in 2014. Jin Young Ko had held the No. 1 spot for nearly two years.

Korda seized control with an iron into the par-5 12th for the 8-foot eagle putt, a three-shot swing when Salas — who had to lay up on the hole — hit wedge over the green into a bunker and made bogey. Salas closed with a 71.

Korda’s older sister, Jessica, was among the first to embrace her on the 18th green as the tears began to below, and before long the newest major champion was doused with champagne.

Jessica Korda finished much earlier — they shared a hug as Nelly was teeing off and Jessica was making the turn — though the older sibling had another reason to celebrate. She easily held down the fourth American spot for the Olympics in Japan

The Korda sisters each have six LPGA Tour victories. Their younger brother, Sebastian, is at Wimbledon this week as the 50th-ranked player in men’s tennis and has a chance to join them in Tokyo for the Olympics. Their father is Petr Korda, who won the Australian Open in tennis in 1998.

PGA TOUR

CROMWELL, Conn. (AP) — Harris English birdied the eighth hole of sudden death to win the Travelers Championship, beating Kramer Hickok after both birdied the final hole of regulation to force the playoff.

It matched the second-longest sudden-death playoff in PGA Tour history.

English shot a 5-under 65 to finish at 13 under, then made a 16-foot putt on the seventh trip down the 18th hole of the day. Hickok missed a 36-foot birdie putt on the final hole.

The tour record for a sudden death playoff is 11 holes in the 1949 Motor City Open, when Lloyd Mangrum and Cary Middlecoff were declared co-winners by mutual agreement due to darkness; four other events have reached an eighth playoff hole.

The eight-hole playoff was a record for the tournament, which went seven holes in 1961 (Ted Kroll) and again in ’62 (Bob Goalby), when it was known as the Insurance City Open.

It was the second win this year and the fourth career victory for English, who finished third at the U.S. Open last week — and fourth in the pandemic-delayed U.S. Open in September.

PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — Steve Stricker won the Bridgestone Seniors Players Championship at difficult Firestone for his second victory of the year and third major title.

Eight strokes ahead in the third round and four in front entering the final round, Stricker closed with an even-par 70 for a six-stroke victory over defending champion and Wisconsin friend Jerry Kelly.

With wife Nicki working as his caddie, Stricker finished at 7-under 273 on the South Course. The U.S. Ryder Cup captain opened with a 63, shot 68 in the second round and 72 in the third.

Stricker has has seven senior victories after winning 12 times on the PGA Tour. He earned a spot in The Players Championship at the TPC Sawgrass next March.

Fred Couples shot a 67 to tie for third with David Toms (70) at even par.

EUROPEAN TOUR

MUNICH (AP) — Viktor Hovland became the first Norwegian winner in European Tour history, holding off Martin Kaymer by two strokes in the BMW International Open,

Hovland closed with a 2-under 70 to finish at 19-under 269 at Munchen Eichenried. He also has two PGA Tour victories, winning the Puerto Rico Open in February 2020 and Mayakoba Golf Classic in December.

Kaymer finished with a 64.

KORN FERRY TOUR

FALMOUTH, Maine (AP) — Chad Ramey won the inaugural Live and Work In Maine Open for his first professional title, closing with a 3-under 68 for a one-stroke victory over Joshua Creel.

Golf