By Keely Levins
It’s been exactly a year since Nelly Korda won on the LPGA, winning the Pelican Women’s Championship last year as part of four-win season that included her first major and, on top of all of that, she won the Olympic gold medal.

Defending her Pelican crown this year was a completely different experience for Korda. Instead of continuing her dominating play from 2021, she was unexpectedly forced to stop competing back in February. A blood clot was discovered in her arm and it required surgery. She was sidelined for four months and — despite claiming the Ladies European Tour Aramco Team Series — Sotogrande crown in Spain — she had not been able to find the LPGA winner’s circle since her return.

That is, until Sunday at Pelican Golf Club in Bellair, Florida.

Korda began the final round two shots behind 36-hole leader Allisen Corpuz. (The tournament was shortened to 54 holes because tropical storm Nicole.) Through 15 holes, Korda was tied with Lexi Thompson for the lead. It was eerily similar to 2021, when both Korda and Thompson were in a four-person playoff at the Pelican.

But Korda didn’t need a playoff this time. She birdied 16 and 17 to open up a two-shot lead over Thompson. She faltered on 18, making bogey and finished at 14-under. Playing in the group behind her, Thompson missed the final green to the right and needed to chip in to force a playoff. She hit a chip that settled less than two feet from the cup, but that meant that the tournament was over.

Korda secured her eighth LPGA title. She’s projected to regain her spot as No. 1 in the world rankings.

“There has been more downs than ups this year I think, and I think that that’s what makes this so much sweeter to me,” Korda said.

The win is a jolt of confidence for Korda as the tour heads into the final event of the season: the CME Group Tour Championship. The 60-player field will compete for one of the biggest purses of the season in Naples, Florida.

“Playing well in the season-ending championship is definitely a big goal of mine. Again, it’s kind of like a home game. I’ll have my parents there, which will be really nice,” Korda said. “But for now I’m just going to enjoy this win, and once I wake up tomorrow, I’ll make my way down to Naples and get ready, get my body ready, mind ready to prep going into a new week.”

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