Nelly Korda comes in clutch, earns latest win at Ford Championship

Nelly Korda won for the second straight week, posting a 7-under 65 in her final round Sunday to capture the Ford Championship title in Gilbert, Ariz.

Korda had a bogey-free day with seven birdies, including two birdies over her final three holes that helped her outlast Australia’s Hira Naveed by two shots. Korda finished at 20-under 268 at Seville Golf and Country Club.

It marked not only two wins in two weeks for Korda, but also three wins in three LPGA Tour starts. The 25-year-old won the LPGA Drive On Championship in January and did not partake in the tour’s Asian swing.

“Yeah, just honestly feels like a blur,” said Korda, the World No. 1. “Taking it day by day, really trying to stay very present and just played really good golf, solid golf in tough conditions today, which I’m very happy about.”

The last player to win three consecutive LPGA starts with Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn in 2016. No American player had pulled off the feat since Nancy Lopez rattled off five straight wins in 1978.

“It’s very hard mentally to be 100 percent, especially after a win, especially playing in tough conditions,” Korda said. “So as boring as it sounds, I was just taking it shot by shot and seeing where I was going to end up.”

The crucial moment came at the par-4 16th hole. Korda was tied for the lead at 18 under at the time, and her approach shot into the green backspun just over the cup and left her a short birdie putt that put her alone on top.

“I laid up. That’s one hole that we kind of switched the game plan on,” Korda said. “Other than that, I just tried to stay really aggressive and I knew that a low one — I had to shoot a low one to be in contention, and just played really smart golf out there today.”

Naveed is a rookie who made just her second start on tour. She followed Saturday’s round of 65 with a 66 on Sunday, featuring seven birdies and just one bogey.

Naveed birdied Nos. 16 and 17 but settled for par at the par-5 18th hole.

“Yeah, she’s an amazing player,” Naveed said. “To share the stage with her is really an honor. Yeah, it was a great day. Just fell short, but, again, it’s an experience so we move on.”

Tied for third at 17 under were Lexi Thompson (68), South Korea’s Mi Hyang Lee (68), Swedes Frida Kinhult (68) and Maja Stark (69) and Spaniard Carlota Ciganda (70).

Thompson was at 18 under after five birdies over her first 14 holes, but she stumbled with consecutive bogeys at Nos. 16 and 17.

“Yeah, it was crazy conditions, but it was almost just like it gets to where it’s mental when it comes to this kind of conditions,” Thompson said. “You just have to stay positive with it and know that pars are a good score.”