Jennifer Kupcho claimed her first LPGA title at the opening major of 2022, The Chevron Championship, finishing two shots clear of fellow American, Jessica Korda, who finished in solo second place.
In the final playing of the Championship at Mission Hills before moving to the Houston area, Kupcho took a six shot lead into the final round. Despite stumbling slightly over her back nine and finishing the day two over par, the 24 year old’s lead proved unassailable as she finished with a four round total of 274, 14 under par and claimed the honor of making the final Champion’s leap into Poppie’s Pond.
Kupcho commented: “I think it’s surreal. To be a major winner is really special, and to be the last person here at Mission Hills to jump into Poppie’s Pond, it’s all really special. Honestly, I came out just trying to shoot a couple under. I mean, I had a six-stroke lead and I shot 8-under yesterday, so I figured if someone can do that, then they deserve to be in a playoff. That was my mentality and what I was fighting for all day. Obviously didn’t get there, but still pulled it out.”
Korda had a textbook start to her title challenge, eagling her third hole of the day but then a run of straight pars until birdies at the 11th and 12th saw her unable to catch Kupcho. Korda was upbeat with her runner up finish explaining: “I was further back starting than I wanted and bunch of lipouts, and it is what it is. Sometimes you got to be lucky to win majors, and I still haven’t found that yet. Second place is not bad after being 3-over through 7, so pretty proud of myself.”
The 17 year old Slovenian Pia Babnik, who has already impressed with two wins on the Ladies European Tour (winning her first professional event at the 2021 Jabra Ladies Open) shot a final round 66 to race up the leaderboard.
With a year and half still to complete high school, Babnik was thrilled with her final round 66 that saw her finish in third place in what was the first time she had made a cut in a major: “I was really happy with my game this week. It’s been great. It’s such course that you have to be patient, and that’s something that I did. Overall really happy with how it turned out.”
Japanese favorite, Hinako Shibuno, bounced back from her disappointing third round of 77 to match Babnik’s 66 and finish in tied 4th place with Celine Boutier, Lexi Thompson and 2021 Champion Patty Tavatanakit.
New title sponsors Chevron announced a Charitable donation of $2million in total from their Chevron Challenge on the 14th hole where they had committed to donate $10,000 per birdie. With a total of 50 birdies, Chevron kindly doubled the $500,000 donation to $1 million as well as donating a second $1 million for the first hole-in-one made on the 5th hole by former champion, Pernilla Lindberg.