Jin Young Ko wins 2023 Founders Cup
Jin Young Ko wins her third Founders Cup. (Photo by Christopher Shannon - JSN)

Jin Young Ko Wins Her Third Founders Cup in Playoff

Clifton, N.J. - It took an extra hole and an uncharacteristic three-putt from Minjee Lee, but Jin Young Ko won her third Cognizant Founders Cup Sunday afternoon at the Upper Montclair Country Club in Clifton, New Jersey.

Trailing Lee by four strokes, Ko was able to record a bogey free round and card a 5-under-par 67 for the round and tie Lee with a 13-under for the tournament.

"So I really focus myself and focus on my like shot by shot every holes and don't look the scoreboard and just think--just do it what I can do," Ko said about her final round strategy, adding, "Just don't think about the other players."

Additionally, perhaps Ko drew some inspiration for her come from behind win from fellow Korean, Sung-jae Im.  Im, a golfer on the Korean PGA Tour, recently won a tournament in Korea after trailing by five strokes.

"Last night, this morning I watch something highlight that was Sung-jae Im, he's PGA Tour player. He's Korean. He played Korea tournament this week and he won," Ko said of the inspiration she drew from her fellow countryman.  "He was five shot behind the lead and he made it to win, so that was inspire me. Yeah, I was four shot behind lead, but if I really play well like Sung-jae I could chance to win, so I really focus myself, yeah."

By contrast, Lee had a more inconsistent day on her way to a final round 1-under 71.  While she was able to score four birdies, Lee double bogeyed hole six and bogeyed hole 16, in addition to her three-putt, bogey on the playoff hole.

"Yeah, I mean, apparently this is only my fifth start on tour this year, so it actually doesn't feel like I've only played five events," Lee said after after her second place finish.  "I have, so I mean, it's still pretty early I guess in my season and I have a lot more events coming up. So I feel like I could take a lot of positives into, you know, the next couple majors coming up and obviously Mizuho is my next event. Yeah, I think I'm going to train hard the next two weeks and be ready for Mizuho."

With her win, Ko becomes the first golfer in the history of the Founders Cup to win three tournament titles, and she accomplished the feet on three different courses.  The only other golfer to win more than one Founders Cup championship is Karrie Webb.

Ashleigh Buhai rounded out the top-3 finishing Sunday's round with a 2-under 70 and a -10 for the tournament. 

What's Next for the LPGA

The LPGA Tour next heads to Las Vegas, Nev. for the Bank of Hope LPGA Match-Play presented by MGM Rewards on May 24-28 before returning to the Garden State for the Mizuho Americas Open at Jersey City's Liberty National Golf Club on June 1-4.

Christopher Shannon