Nelly Korda started the final round of the LPGA Drive On Championship with a four-shot advantage and proceeded to make a mess of things in short order. After her front-nine struggles brought the field back into play, Korda played Nos. 14-16 in four-over-par. At the same time, Lydia Ko had just eagled the 17th, giving her a three-shot lead and a real chance at a win that would’ve put Ko into the LPGA Tour Hall of Fame. But Korda recovered late, making eagle on 17 and tapping in for birdie on 18 to force a playoff. Lydia missed from about five feet on the second extra hole, giving Korda the title. In other words, it was one hell of a Sunday for the LPGA Tour.

It’s worth remembering that head-to-head battles like this one seemed destined to take place last year. Following a dominant 2021 for Nelly Korda (three LPGA Tour titles, a major championship victory, and an Olympic gold medal), complications with a blood clot severely limited her 2022 campaign. Lydia Ko won three times in 2021 and then seemed to completely lose her game. Both players won just once last year, with neither victory coming against a top-tier field.

At their peak, I still believe Nelly Korda and Lydia Ko are the most complete talents on the LPGA Tour. Lydia’s all-around game and Nelly’s elite driving ability are a cut above the competition. This year could be a chance for us to get a look at the two top players going head-to-head on a consistent basis. That’s something that rarely happens in professional golf, and the Drive On was a great preview of how fun that can be.

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