Jin Young Ko beats Minjee Lee in playoff to win Founders Cup

Jin Young Ko’s par on the first playoff hole was enough to beat Minjee Lee and win the Cognizant Founders Cup on Sunday in Clifton, N.J.

World No. 3 Ko and world No. 6 Lee replayed the par-4 18th hole at Upper Montclair Country Club to begin the playoff. Both found the green in two shots, but after Ko missed a birdie putt, Lee smacked her putt far left and several feet past the hole.

The Australian misread her comebacker for par, which stayed right the whole way. Ko then cleaned up her par for the come-from-behind win.

Ko, a South Korea native, has now won the Founders Cup three times — at three different courses. Lee was attempting to defend last year’s title.

“I didn’t have my game plan or something like that,” Ko said on the Golf Channel broadcast. “I feel just tired the last three days so I really wanted to focus my game.”

Lee entered the day with a three-shot lead on the field and a four-shot advantage over Ko. A double bogey at the par-3 sixth set her back, but she proceeded to make four birdies to get to 14 under par through 15 holes.

A messy bogey at the 16th took her down to 13 under. Up ahead, Ko made a long birdie putt at the 18th to tie Lee.

Ko parred No. 17 and missed the green at No. 18, though her chip nearly caught the cup and fell for a tournament-winning birdie.

“I heard the roar when Jin Young birdied 18, so I knew I was probably going to be tied if I didn’t birdie the last hole,” Lee said. “I chipped it really well and it just missed, but I still think I played really solid today and throughout the whole week.”

Ko’s bogey-free 67 featured five birdies, including a long putt at the par-4 18th to tie Lee at 13 under. Lee carded a 71.

South Africa’s Ashleigh Buhai shot a final-round 70 to finish in sole possession of third place at 10-under 278. South Korea’s Hae Ran Ryu (73) placed fourth at 8 under. Atthaya Thitikul of Thailand (71), Aditi Ashok of India (73) and Angel Yin (74) tied for fifth at 7 under.

–Field Level Media

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