Jin Young Ko won the exciting playoff hole on the 18th hole, collecting the $450,000 check at Upper Montclair Country Club.
It seemed like Minjee Lee was on the way to her second Cognizant Founders Cup victory, having dominated the tournament throughout. However a last-minute surge from South Korean sensation Jin Young Ko interrupted that narrative.
Lee had carried her three stroke lead for much of the day, but a double bogey on the on the sixth hole stalled her momentum. With five birdies, Jin Young Ko capitalized on the setback, completing a thrilling birdie on the 18th hole enough to set up the instant death playoff on the 18th.
With Lee putting at par on the final hole, the playoff was set.
After Minjee Lee finished the playoff 18th at par, Jin Young Ko accomplished the win with a birdie right when she needed it, throwing her arms up in the air in victory and quickly hugging her caddie, followed by a shower of champagne by friends.
Jin Young Ko wins the @LPGAfounders Cup for a third time.
Shocking three-putt from Minjee Lee on the first playoff hole.
Jin Young looking really strong. Could be a massive summer. pic.twitter.com/XI2ou1oNWG
— Beth Ann Nichols (@GolfweekNichols) May 14, 2023
“I didn’t have, like, game plan. I just feel tired the last three days, so I really want to focus on my game,” said Ko after the win, according to Barrons.
“I played really, really good. It was so windy, was too windy out there, so I thought if I (can) play really well I could have a chance to win.
“So I really focused myself and focused shot by shot on every hole and didn’t look the scoreboard. I didn’t think about the other players.”
Jin Young Ko moved up LPGA earnings list with third Cognizant win
With the win, Jin Young Ko wins the Cognizant for the third time, having won the tournament on three separate golf courses. In addition to Lilia Vu, she is the second player to achieve multiple wins this season.
The $450,000 winners check also contributed to Ko surpassing the $11 million mark in LPGA career earnings, moving the 15-time LPGA winner into the Top 20 in the Career Money list. With the enthralling playoff in Clifton, NJ, she is the fifth player on the tour to win a playoff this season.
The two-time major winner has put herself in excellent contention for the upcoming major champions coming up, starting next month.