May 25th, 2024

Whoa Nelly. Korda streak over. Zhang rallies late to beat Sagstrom by 2 in Founders


By Tom Canavan, The Associated Press on May 12, 2024.

Rose Zhang loses her balance as she hits out of the rough on the first hole during the final round of the LPGA Cognizant Founders Cup golf tournament, Sunday, May 12, 2024, in Clifton, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

CLIFTON, N.J. (AP) – Rose Zhang won the Cognizant Founders Cup on Sunday to end Nelly Korda’s record-tying LPGA Tour winning streak, rallying to beat Madelene Sagstrom by two strokes.

Zhang birdied four of the final five holes to overcome a three-shot deficit in a thrilling final-round duel with Sagstrom after the two broke away from the field Saturday.

Zhang shot a 6-under 66, birdieing Nos. 14, 15, 17 and 18 at Upper Montclair Country Club. Sagstrom bogeyed the 16th in a 69.

Korda, who struggled the final two days after playing magnificently in winning the five straight events she entered, had a second straight 73 and tied for seventh at 7 under.

After her final putt, Zhang bent over and put her hands to her mouth, before walking to hug caddie Oliver Brett. The two-time NCAA champion at Stanford who won last year at nearby Liberty National in her pro debut, finished at 24 under 264 total – the best score in the three years the event has been held here.

It was a heart-breaking end for Sagstrom, the 31-year-old Swede who started the day with a one-shot lead and was looking for her first victory since 2020 and second overall on tour.

She led by three after 13, but Zhang curled in a birdie putt at 15 and made an 8-footer on the next to draw within one. They were tied after after 16, with Sagstrom missing a 10-foot par putt after a bad chip from the back fringe.

After Sagstrom saved par at the par-3 17th with a fast, downhill 25-footer, Zhang took the lead with a short birdie putt.

Rookie Gabriela Ruffels of Australia was third at 9 under, her best finish. She shot 71.

Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ont., finished at 2 under, having shot 69 on the day.

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AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf

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