Jennifer Kupcho battles early-round struggles, claims Meijer LPGA Classic title in playoff

Meijer LPGA Typical champion Jennifer Kupcho holds her trophy immediately after a double playoff earn Sunday, June 19, 2022, at Blythefield Country Club in Belmont Michigan. Kupcho ended the weekend -18 below.

BELMONT — Just after these a thrilling weekend, it virtually felt anticlimactic.

Jennifer Kupcho holed a faucet-in birdie putt on the next playoff hole and with her competitor, Leona Maguire, dealing with just a 3-footer to match the rating, the 25-calendar year-outdated was now searching toward the subsequent playoff gap. Besides it did not arrive to that. Maguire’s putt lipped out and Kupcho claimed the Meijer LPGA Typical title, her 2nd profession LPGA victory.

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“Honestly [when Maguire’s putt lipped out] it was just [a] shock,” Kupcho claimed. “She went to Duke, I went to Wake Forest. Playing with her so a great deal, she won’t pass up putts. Yeah, I was actually just stunned.”

Early in the spherical, it didn’t feel like Kupcho would be the a person lifting the silverware when all was stated and carried out, nevertheless. She commenced the working day just one shot again of reigning Meijer LPGA Basic winner Nelly Korda, who was also tied for the lead soon after the round but was eradicated in the to start with playoff hole. Kupcho struggled early on in her spherical,

By way of the 1st 6 holes, Kupcho was 3 more than par with a bogey and a double on her card. She sat as several as three photographs off the lead, but she shut the front 9 with authority, carding an eagle and a birdie in advance of the turn to salvage even par on the entrance and be tied atop the leaderboard heading into the final nine holes.

These final holes are when champions are manufactured and Kupcho stayed beneath par, going 1-underneath on the back again with two birdies, nevertheless a late bogey on 16 and a par on the simply scorable par 5 18th despatched her to a playoff.  But she created two straight birdies in the playoff to capture the title. Even while early on it looked like she could be collapsing, she understood deep down the championship was constantly in arrive at.

Meijer LPGA Classic champion Jennifer Kupcho walks off the green after a double playoff win Sunday, June 19, 2022, at Blythefield Country Club in Belmont Michigan. Kupcho ended the weekend -18 under.

Meijer LPGA Basic champion Jennifer Kupcho walks off the inexperienced after a double playoff gain Sunday, June 19, 2022, at Blythefield State Club in Belmont Michigan. Kupcho ended the weekend -18 beneath.

“I assume just telling myself that I’m not out of it,” Kupcho said. “And truthfully  I’ve often been a back again-nine participant and I genuinely am a back again-9 player.”

Prior to the spherical began, it seemed like it would be a race among 3 or 4 players. Kupcho and Korda had divided on their own at 1 and two, but Brooke Henderson and Lexi Thompson were being near powering. Henderson ended up finishing in a tie for ninth soon after going even on the day and 15-less than for the tournament. Thompson experienced the solo direct at just one position in the afternoon at 18-below, but struggled down the stretch with a few bogeys on her ultimate eight holes to finish at 16-underneath in a tie for fifth.

It is really Thompson’s fourth prime-10 end in 2022 and something for her to construct on heading into a major, the KPMG omen’s PGA Championship subsequent 7 days.

“I had a tough extend on my 2nd 9, but I saved going with a favourable attitude hoping I could birdie every gap in and I kept on making an attempt,” Thompson claimed. “One thing to construct on and discover from it and go on.”

Of these three past champions at the Meijer, only Korda factored into the remaining final result, but it was Maguire who experienced the spherical of the day. When the Irishwoman teed off Sunday she was 7 shots again of the direct. The back-to-back runner-up at the Meijer LPGA Classic carded eight birdies and just one bogey to end her working day 7-underneath just before the playoff.

Meijer LPGA Classic runner-up Leona Maguire walks off the course after she completes the Meijer LPGA Sunday, June 19, 2022, at Blythefield Country Club in Belmont Michigan.

Meijer LPGA Typical runner-up Leona Maguire walks off the program immediately after she completes the Meijer LPGA Sunday, June 19, 2022, at Blythefield State Club in Belmont Michigan.

Korda admitted she did not have her most effective day. Soon after finishing just about every of the initially 3 rounds 5-underneath or improved, she limped into the playoff at even-par for the day. She was removed on the initial playoff hole when Kupcho and Maguire both birdied and she managed a par. Even though it stung in the instant aftermath, thinking of the event is just her second given that March immediately after possessing surgery for a blood clot, she was pretty content with the end result.

“Sadly at times you have it and occasionally you don’t,” Korda explained. “If you instructed me I feel three, 4 months back when I was in the ER that I would be in this article I would be extremely happy.”

Lexi Thompson (middle) hugs Brooke Henderson (left) after they complete the Meijer LPGA Classic Sunday, June 19, 2022, at Blythefield Country Club in Belmont Michigan. Thompson finished the tournament -16 under and Henderson -15.

Lexi Thompson (center) hugs Brooke Henderson (left) right after they total the Meijer LPGA Basic Sunday, June 19, 2022, at Blythefield Country Club in Belmont Michigan. Thompson concluded the tournament -16 below and Henderson -15.

Although every single of Sunday’s three playoff golfers have momentum heading into the KPMG subsequent 7 days just exterior of Washington D.C., Kupcho has the most heading for her. She presently has practical experience successful a significant championship, professing the Chevron Championship in early April, and is coming off a nervy acquire just five days prior to her upcoming spherical.

She was nicely in advance at the Chevron, successful by two strokes and was effectively in entrance heading into the closing spherical. The nerve-wracking ambiance on Sunday may well have made this one particular a bit far more particular for her.

Nelly Korda waves to the crowd as she arrives on the 18th green for a playoff between herself, Jennifer Kupcho and Leona Maguire Sunday, June 19, 2022, at Blythefield Country Club in Belmont Michigan.

Nelly Korda waves to the crowd as she arrives on the 18th eco-friendly for a playoff in between herself, Jennifer Kupcho and Leona Maguire Sunday, June 19, 2022, at Blythefield Place Club in Belmont Michigan.

However, even a lot more, specific nevertheless was successful on Father’s Day. With an early afternoon paring, she experienced loads of time to contact her dad in the early morning. Alternatively, she manufactured a assure to herself — simply call him afterwards on with a thing your luggage a very little bit heavier than it was when you got below.

“I thought to myself this early morning that I really should contact him, but I kept telling myself, no, like we will call him after the spherical with the trophy in our hand,” Kupcho said.  “And I’m psyched I can do that now.”

—Contact Assistant Athletics Editor Will Kennedy at [email protected] Adhere to him on Twitter @ByWillKennedy and Facebook @Holland Sentinel Sports activities.

This post at first appeared on The Holland Sentinel: Jennifer Kupcho statements Meijer LPGA Traditional title in 2-hole playoff