May 27th, 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.

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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