It’s been a long time coming but Nelly Korda is finally a major champion.
The 22-year-old, widely regarded as the best player on the LPGA without one of the game’s marquee titles to her name, held off Solheim Cup teammate Lizette Salas to win the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in Atlanta.
In so doing, Korda climbed to the top of the world rankings, becoming the first American to top the standings since Stacy Lewis in 2014.
Korda began the final round tied with Salas but pulled away on Sunday with a four-under 68 to win by three shots, matching the tournament’s 72-hole scoring record in the process.
It is back-to-back wins for the Florida-born golfer, who has now won six times on the LPGA in the last two-and-a-half years.
“This is something that I've worked for since I was 14, since I played in my first major,” said Korda. “I wanted to be a major champion and to finally get it done here in Atlanta with such an amazing crowd, honestly, it's really special.
“I just tried to keep a level head and tell myself that there's so much golf left to be played and just take it a shot at a time.”
Korda was embraced on the 18th green by her older sister and fellow LPGA pro Jessica.
“She has a heart of gold,” said Nelly. “She's the most selfless person out there. I mean, she's five years older, so she has shown me the ropes of the LPGA, the ropes of professional golf, and I've been super lucky to have been showed that because a lot of people don't get that opportunity.
“If I'm struggling, she's right there for me. I can't thank her enough for everything she has done and for how selfless of a person she is.”