Jennifer Kupcho holds nerve at Chevron Championship to win her first major | Golf


Jennifer Kupcho took the final-ever victory leap into Poppie’s Pond late on Sunday afternoon as she won the Chevron Championship. The tournament, best known as the Dinah Shore, also ended a half-century run at Mission Hills in the California desert.

Six strokes ahead entering the round, Kupcho shot a two-over 74 for a two-stroke victory over Jessica Korda. The 24-year-old from Colorado finished at 14-under for her first LPGA Tour title.

“I’ve been so close a couple of times. It’s really hard, but here I am,” she said after her victory.

The event that started in 1972 as the Colgate-Dinah Shore Winner’s Circle and became a major in 1983 is moving to Houston next year after failing to attract a sponsor willing to keep it at its present home.

Seven strokes ahead of Korda and defending champion Patty Tavatanakit at 18 under after holing birdie putts over 30ft on the par-four fourth and par-three fifth, Kupcho played the final 13 holes in four-over. Korda shot a 69. Fighting a back problem, she holed her approach for eagle on the par-four third and pulled within four with birdies on Nos 11 and 12. Korda was only two strokes back after Kupcho bogeyed 13 and 14, but fell three behind with a bogey of her own on 15 and parred the last three.

Kupcho pushed the advantage to four with a three-foot birdie putt on the 15th, and Korda missed a 12ft birdie try soon after on 16. Kupcho bogeyed the final two holes, three-putting the par-five 18th.

The first US winner since Brittany Lincicome in 2015, Kupcho opened Thursday with a 66 for a share of the lead. She had a 70 on Friday and shot 64 on Saturday to break the tournament 54-hole record at 16 under. She missed a chance to break the 72-hole mark of 19 under set by Dottie Pepper in 1999.

Kupcho won three years after after passing up a spot in the event to play and win that week in the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur. She also won the 2018 NCAA individual title for Wake Forest.

Pia Babnik of Slovenia closed with a 66 to finish third at 11 under. Tavatanakit, playing alongside Kupcho the last two days, birdied the 18th for a 72 to tie for fourth at 10 under with 2014 winner Lexi Thompson (68), second-round leader Hinako Shibuno (66) and Celine Boutier (67).

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