In a fight to the finish, American Nelly Korda managed to hold off challengers and secure the gold medal in the women’s Olympic golf tournament.
The world No. 1 fended off a push from Japan’s Mone Inami, who tied Korda for the lead by notching a crucial birdie on the 17th hole on Saturday. Despite several birdies, Korda suffered a double bogey on the seventh hole, putting her lead up for grabs.
The Olympic title came down to the 72nd hole. While Inami ended up in a bunker and finished with a bogey, Korda sunk her putt for par, ending sealing the one-shot victory. Her fellow competitor and sister, Jessica Korda, danced over to her on the green in celebration before wrapping her arms around the Olympic champion.
Korda’s win comes after fellow American Xander Schauffele took top spot in the men’s tournament.
Korda said she got emotional stepping onto the podium to receive her medal.
“I’ve always been a fighter. I will never back down and I’m going to fight to the end — and I showed that today,” she said.
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The achievement, Korda said, has her in shock.
“This is super special. Being an Olympian is already special itself, but being a gold medallist is amazing. I don’t even have words for it,” she said.
Her win also came shortly after the anticipated tropical storm descended at the Kasumigaseki Country Club and suspended play on the 71st hole.
With rain starting to fall, a handful of players — in particular, those still in the running for an Olympic medal — were forced to wait for around half an hour before finishing up their final rounds.
The decision for silver came down to a playoff between Lydia Ko of New Zealand and Inami, having been tied through 72-holes.
Ko stayed steady on the front end of the course, but had alternating bogeys and birdies on the back end.
It was Inami who secured par on the 18th hole to win silver for the host nation, while Ko earned a bronze — her second Olympic medal after winning silver in Rio 2016.
Canadians place 29th, 49th
Brooke Henderson and Alena Sharp of Canada both avoided the waiting game prompted by the storm for their own rounds, having teed off earlier in the day.
Henderson saw her lowest score in the Tokyo tournament on Saturday, shooting a four-under 67.
She rose up the standings by 11 places and finished tied in 29th.
The 23-year-old from Smith Falls, Ont., again started on the back nine, which drew out bogeys from the player throughout her first three rounds.
But this time, Henderson stayed even with four pars before getting her first eagle in Tokyo on the 14th. She had two birdies and a bogey on both the back and front ends.
Alena Sharp of Canada dropped to 49th place, shooting a four-over 75 in the fourth round.
The 40-year-old from Hamilton, Ont., started with a bogey on the 10th hole and had another on the 16th. She had a log jam of pars until a birdie on the eighth, but closed out with a double bogey on the ninth.
Henderson had a seventh-place finish in Rio 2016, while Sharp finished in 30th.
The Rio 2016 defending Olympic champion, Inbee Park of South Korea, finished five-under and tied in 23rd.
After a great showing at the Games, Aditi Ashok of India, ranked 200th in the world, finished one place out of the medals at 15-under.
Australia’s Hannah Green finished tied in fifth with Denmark’s Emily Kristine Pedersen.