Jennifer Kupcho closes out Chevron Championship win for first LPGA Tour title in final round of major at Mission Hills

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. — Jennifer Kupcho took the final victory jump into Poppie’s Pond on Sunday afternoon, ending the tournament better known as Dinah Shore’s Half-Century Race at Mission Hills in the California desert. .

Six shots before entering the round, Kupcho shot a 2 of 74 for a two-shot win over Jessica Korda in the Chevron Championship. The 24-year-old from Colorado finished at 14 under 274 for her first LPGA Tour title.

The event that began in 1972 as the Colgate-Dinah Shore Winner’s Circle and came of age in 1983 is moving to Houston next year after failing to attract a sponsor willing to keep it in the desert.

Seven strokes ahead of Korda and defending champion Patty Tavatanakit at 18 under after birdie putts over 30 feet on the par-4 fourth and par-3 fifth, Kupcho played the final 13 holes in 4-under. above.

Korda shot a 69. Battling a back problem, she nailed her approach for the eagle on the par-4 third and shot within four with birdies on Nos. 11 and 12.

Korda was just two strokes away after Kupcho bogeyed 13 and 14, but fell three behind with his own bogey at 15 and parried the final three.

Kupcho pushed the advantage to four with a 3-foot birdie putt on the 15th, and Korda missed a 12-foot birdie try shortly after the 16. Kupcho bogeyed the final two holes, putting three the par- 5 18th.

The first American winner since Brittany Lincicome in 2015, Kupcho opened Thursday with a 66 for a share of the lead. She hit a 70 on Friday and 64 on Saturday to break the 54-hole tournament record at under 16. She missed a chance to break the 72-hole, 19-under mark set by Dottie Pepper in 1999.

Kupcho won three years after losing 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 finished with a 66 to finish third at 11 under.

Tavatanakit, playing alongside Kupcho the past two days, birdied the 18th for a 72 tied for fourth at 10 under with 2014 winner Lexi Thompson (68), second-round leader Hinako Shibuno (66) and Celine Boutier (67).

Chella Choi won a BMW iX with a hole-in-one on the par-3 17th. She used a hybrid 4 on the 181-yard hole. Choi shot a 71 to tie the tied 53rd. Pernilla had the fifth for 166 yards with a 7-iron. The 2018 winner also shot 71 to finish tied.

Brooke Seay, the Stanford junior who turned down Augusta a spot to play the final event at Mission Hills, was the only one of the four amateurs to qualify. She finished with a 73 tied for 65th at 2 over.