Jin Young Ko Wins 15th LPGA Tour Title After Minjee Lee Three-Putt

The Korean defeated Minjee Lee in a playoff at the Founders Cup in New Jersey

Jin Young Ko sprayed with champagne after winning Founders Cup
The two-time Major winner won her 15th LPGA Tour title in New Jersey
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A three-putt in a playoff from Minjee Lee handed Jin Young Ko her third Founders Cup title and second LPGA Tour win of 2023.

Former World No.1 Ko birdied the 72nd hole in regulation to force Minjee Lee to finish par-par for a playoff and the pair went back to the 18th to decide the title.

Lee was well inside her Korean rival for birdie but her effort from around 15ft ran a good six-feet by and she pushed the resulting par putt well wide of the hole.

It left Jin Young Ko with a mere tap-in to secure her 15th LPGA Tour title and a brilliant comeback after starting the day four strokes back of Minjee Lee at Upper Montclair Country Club in New Jersey.

Ko posted a bogey-free final round of 67 with five birdies and 13 pars, reaching 13-under-par to match Minjee Lee. The Korean won this event for the third time after also triumphing in 2019 and 2021, and she took home $450,000 with her victory.

Lee began the day with a three-stroke lead but dropped back after a double bogey on the par 3 6th. She rallied with four birdies in her next nine holes but a costly bogey on the par 3 16th left her needing a birdie on one of her final two holes to beat the charging Ko.

"Obviously I'm a little bit disappointed, but I think I can take more of the happy moments into the next stretch of events and the rest of the year," Lee said after by far her best finish of the year so far.

"So I'm not totally unhappy but obviously I would've liked a better result."

AIG Women's Open winner Ashleigh Buhai was third at 10-under-par.

Ko said she was inspired by Sungjae Im, who won on the Korean PGA Tour this past weekend.

"Last night, this morning I watched something highlight that was Sungjae Im, he's a PGA Tour player. He's Korean. He played Korea tournament this week and he won," she said. "He was five shots behind the lead and he made it to win, so that inspired me.

"Yeah, I was four shots behind lead, but if I really played well like Sungjae I could have chance to win, so I really focus myself, yeah."

Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news team as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as five Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays off of a six handicap. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2

Hybrids: Titleist 816 H1

Irons: Mizuno MP5 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Srixon Z Star XV