American Jennifer Kupcho declared her first victory over the LPGA Toured with a two-stroke victory at the Chevron Championship.
The 24-year-old began the day at Mission Hills six shots ahead, then hit a double-for-74 to finish 14 under, with compatriot Jessica Korda finishing second.
Jennifer Kupcho is the first American to beat the title since 2015 (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)
Kupcho became the first American winner since Brittany Lincicome in 2015.
After the game, she told the press, “I’ve been so close many times. It isn’t easy, but here I am.
Kupcho observed tournament tradition by jumping into Poppied’s Pond, alongside her caddy and her husband, after claiming victory. Amy Alcott started the practice in 1983.
American Jennifer Kupcho wins her first LPGA title at the Chevron Championship.
Kupcho’s victory celebrations started when she leaped into Poppie’s Pond, as is tradition, attended by her husband, caddy, and cheers from the crowd. The ceremony was created by Amy Alcott in 1983 and has been followed by every winner since.
“It’s surreal,” Kupcho said, according to ESPN. “To be a major winner is special, and to be the final person here at Mission Hills to jump into Poppied’s Pond, it’s all extraordinary.”
Next year, the tournament is progressing from the Mission Hills Country Club to Houston underneath a contract with current sponsors Chevron.
“To just be able to [win] fast after my wedding and celebrate with my husband and have him here, it’s extraordinary,” Kupcho continued. “I didn’t see him reaching across the bridge, and he picked me up. I don’t think he picked me up, so that was pretty cool.”
Before Sunday, Kupcho’s most impressive win came as an amateur when she beat the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur in 2019.
Despite her relative inexperience, it was a near-complete understanding of the 53rd-ranked player, who had transferred an earlier lead with Minjee Lee following the beginning round.
Kupcho stayed atop the leaderboard throughout the weekend and brought a six-stroke lead into the last game after carding an 8-under 64 in the third round for a tournament-record 16-under 200 total.
Initially, Kupcho extended this advantage during the final round, getting birdies on the fourth and fifth holes before playing the last 13 holes in 4-over to card a 2-over 74 final game and finish the tournament 14-under.
Fellow American Jessica Korda spent second place on 12-under after she shot 69 in the final round. At the same time, Slovenia’s Pia Babnik closed with a 66 to complete a shot behind Korda in third. Defending champion Patty Tavatanakit tied for fourth place at 10-under.
Jennifer Kupcho took the final-ever victory to leap into Poppie’s Pond late Sunday afternoon as she beat the Chevron Championship. The game, best known as the Dinah Shore, completed a half-century run at Mission Hills in the California desert.
Six strokes along joining the round, Kupcho shot a two-over 74 for a two-stroke triumph over Jessica Korda. The 24-year-old from Colorado ended at 14-under for her first LPGA Tour title. “I’ve been so near a couple of times. It’s tough, but here I am,” she said after her victory.
The event that began in 1972 as the Colgate-Dinah Shore Winner’s Circle and became a principal in 1983 is moving to Houston the following year after failing to draw a patron willing to keep it at its present home.
Seven strokes ahead of Korda and protecting champion Patty Tavatanakit at 18 beneath after holing birdie putts over 30ft on the par-four fourth and par-three fifth, Kupcho recreated the final 13 holes in four over. Korda shot a 69.
Fighting a back problem, she holed her process for eagle on the par-four third and removed within four with birdies on Nos 11 and 12. Korda was just two strokes before after Kupcho bogeyed 13 and 14 but fell three back with a monster of her own on 15 and parred the last three.
Kupcho pushed the edge to four with a three-foot putt on the 15th, and Korda missed a 12ft birdie try soon after on the 16. Kupcho bogeyed the last two holes, three-putting the par-five 18th.
The first US winner since Brittany Lincicome in 2015, Kupcho extended Thursday with a 66 for a share of the lead. She had a 70 on Friday and shot 64 on Saturday to break the tournament’s 54-hole record at 16 under. She missed the possibility of damaging the 72-hole mark of 19 set by Dottie Pepper in 1999.
Kupcho won three years after dying up a spot in the event to play and win that week in the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur. She also won the 2018 NCAA individual title for Wake Forest.
Pia Babnik of Slovenia sealed with a 66 to finish third at 11 under. Tavatanakit, recreating alongside Kupcho the previous two days, birdied the 18th for a 72 to tie for fourth at ten under with 2014 champion Lexi Thompson (68), second-round director Hinako Shibuno (66), and Celine Boutier (67).