25-year-old American pro golfer Nelly Korda secured her spot in LPGA history on Sunday, notching her fifth-straight title at this weekend's Chevron Championship in The Woodlands, Texas.

Ranked No. 1 in the world by Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, Korda joins Nancy Lopez (1978) and Annika Sörenstam (2005) as just the third LPGA player to rack up five consecutive tour wins. She is also the third No. 1-ranked player to capture The Chevron Championship victory since the rankings debuted in 2006, accompanied by Lorena Ochoa and Lydia Ko.

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The Florida native shot three-under 69 in Sunday's final, besting Sweden's Maja Stark despite Stark's valiant come-from-behind attempt in the 18th. Korda finished with a four-day total of 13-under 275, celebrating her two-stroke win by cannonballing into Poppie's Pond, much to the crowd's delight. She left The Club at Carlton Woods with $1.2 million from an overall purse of $7.9 million.

It wasn't long ago that the two-time major champion's current winning streak seemed unimaginable. After maintaining her No. 1 position for 29 weeks, Korda underwent surgery to remove a blood clot from her left arm in 2022. She returned to the course not long after, but failed to win a single tournament in 2023 before seeing a surge in form during the first four months of 2024. As of today, she hasn't lost a tournament since January.

Korda will attempt a record sixth-straight win at next week's JM Eagle LA Championship at Wilshire Country Club in Los Angeles, where she'll vie for a cut of the $3.75 million purse.

Women’s sports television viewership continues to grow, with the EuroLeague and LPGA the latest examples of the boom.

The EuroLeague shattered previous highs for engagement in 2022-23, reaching 3.4 million engagements and 124 million impressions for the season. Video views also increased on their YouTube channel, nearly doubling from 25 million in 2021-22 to 48 million this year.

Among the causes for the EuroLeague’s rise is a “rapidly expanding interest from the USA,” according to FIBA. Not only was the U.S. ranked first in the EuroLeague’s audience demographics, surpassing Turkey and Spain, but their use of the league’s website increased by 133 percent in 2022-23.

“We are extremely proud to see the continued rise in popularity of EuroLeague Women. The increased digital growth shows that there is a dedicated and passionate audience that keeps building,” said FIBA Executive Director Europe, Kamil Novak.

“As always, we must continue to push forward in order to reach greater heights and help raise the profile of the women’s game in line with FIBA’s key strategic pillars.”

Meanwhile, the Chevron Championship this past weekend — the first LPGA major of the year — was the most-watched edition of the tournament since 2010. It was also NBC Sports’ most-watched Chevron Championship on record.

The final round on NBC averaged 941,000 viewers, peaking at 1.54 million as Lilia Vu defeated Angel Yin in a one-hole playoff. It was the top-rated sports program on NBC for the week, featured among the top programs for the week across all broadcast networks and was among the top 10 sports broadcasts on Sunday — despite competing against the NBA and NHL playoffs.

The viewership also marked a considerable jump from last year, when the tournament drew 349,000 average viewers on the Golf Channel.

The positive numbers are a reflection of the overall growth in women’s sports attendance and viewership, with the most recent NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament shattering TV records in women’s college basketball.

Lilia Vu became a major winner Sunday at the Chevron Championship, capping off a wild weekend in The Woodlands, Texas.

The 25-year-old American birdied her last two holes, bringing her to a 4-under 68 for the day pushing her into a playoff for the title. Angel Yin also qualified for the playoff, but on the first playoff hole, Yin’s second shot came up short and left, splashing into the pond.

From there, Vu converted on the birdie putt to take the win.

“I knew on that last putt, all I had to do was just do my routine, read the putt how I usually do and just hit this putt because I’ve hit that putt a million times,” Vu said. “And I knew I could make it.”

Yin finished as runner-up in a major for the second time in her career after she tied for second at the 2019 U.S. Women’s Open. World No. 2 Nelly Korda finished in third at 9 under, rounding out the trio of American golfers in the top three.

Vu came into the tournament ranked No. 12 in the world. She earned her first-ever LPGA victory at the Honda LPGA Thailand in February. With her win in this weekend’s major, Vu takes home $765,000, the largest prize in the history of the event.

Angel Yin enters the fourth round of the 2023 Chevron Championship tied for first with Allisen Corpuz after a very lucky bounce.

On the 12th hole at The Club at Carlton Woods, Yin hit the ball into the water and then watched as it — miraculously — bounced out and rolled onto the bank (video embedded below). It was such a surreal shot that even the commentators were left wondering whether it had hit a turtle.

“That was TV-worthy… Bounced out the water and then chipped in for a birdie,” Yin told Golf Channel’s Amy Rogers at the conclusion of the third round, noting that she might also test her luck on a lottery ticket.

It was a lucky shot for a player who is in need of a lucky break. Yin entered the the 2023 Chevron Championship — the first major of the 2023 LPGA Tour — ranked 172nd in the Rolex world rankings. The 24-year-old has struggled with a combination of injuries and mental hurdles in recent years.

“A lot of low points (were mental) because when you play bad, you mentally get down on yourself before your game even does, and you’re just constantly trying to figure out what’s not working and why this is happening,” Yin said on Thursday.

Last year, the California native felt like she was on the verge of losing her LPGA status, but then caught a break when she tied for third at the Founders Cup in New Jersey. And then came even more injuries.

“The last two majors, (the AIG Women’s Open) and Evian [Championship], I couldn’t even move. I got super injured out of nowhere. That was really a low point for me because I couldn’t even get out of bed, and I tried to play still, and it was just impossible.”

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. — Jennifer Kupcho, for her first LPGA victory, won the 51st and final Chevron Championship by two strokes at the Dinah Shore Course on Sunday.

Here are five takeaways from the historic moment in women’s golf.

1. A mixed farewell to the Dinah Shore Course

Golf Channel commentator Jerry Foltz welcomed a Chevron executive to the stand during the trophy presentation Sunday. The fans around Poppie’s Pond, in their final act of rebellion, booed the tournament host’s representative in frustration that so much history is being left behind in Rancho Mirage.

No longer will passionate volunteers like 80-year-old Judi Callaway, who makes 1,000 roses a year sitting alongside the 18th fairway, be a constant reminder of the stories of the tournament. Nor will players walk alongside the names of all the past champions of the event, on a path culminating in a statue of Dinah Shore, the tournament’s patron saint.

First tee announcer Ron Gilgallion, who’s called players’ names for the last 24 years, summoned three-time Chevron champion Amy Alcott on Sunday. Alcott started the tradition of the winner leaping into Poppie’s Pond in 1988, and she was on hand to call out the last name ever announced on the first tee, that of last year’s champion, Patty Tavatanakit.

“It’s bittersweet, but I’m glad the LPGA, I’m glad Chevron is stepping in,” Alcott said of the moment. “I’m glad they’re doing whatever they need to do to elevate the tournament for these great players. One door closes, another door opens.”

Judy Rankin, a television broadcasting pioneer, also wrapped up her final tournament working as a lead analyst for Golf Channel. Fans peppered the outskirts of the course with signs acknowledging her history at the course.

Since the event’s inception in 1972, Rankin has been an omniscient presence as both a player and a commentator. She finished tied for second in the inaugural edition of the tournament, which Jane Blalock won, and captured the title herself in 1976.

The Hall of Famer wasn’t willing to write off the LPGA returning to Mission Hills Country Club.

“I might be sticking my foot in my mouth — I believe the best golfers in the game will be back at Mission Hills in some shape or fashion,” Rankin said Sunday as Lexi Thompson walked onto the 18th green.

An hour before Kupcho’s final tap-in putt for victory, past champions Sandra Palmer (1975), Alcott (1983, 1988, 1991), Patty Sheehan (1996) and Patricia Meunier-Lebouc (2003) gathered to take a group winners’ leap into Poppie’s Pond. It served as a culmination of Chevron’s 51 years of history as title sponsor of the tournament.

“As a past champion, it is hard,” Meunier-Lebouc said, “because we have so many memories here, and I think it is an unbelievable tournament venue, people.

“We have to recognize that what the people in the community have done is tremendous. It’s not only what we lose, it’s what the community loses. I have to trust the LPGA and the Chevron people and what they’re doing. They better do a good job. If we go away from here, it has to be something big.”

2. Jennifer Kupcho’s putter delivers Chevron Championship

Kupcho walked to the first tee Sunday with a six-shot lead over Patty Tavatanakit, with her putter delivering 10 makes over 10 feet through the first three rounds.

The trend continued during the final round, with Kupcho making back-to-back birdie putts on the fourth and fifth holes to take the turn with the same six-stroke lead at 17-under par.

The 24-year-old’s momentum stalled briefly with bogeys on 10, 13 and 14. With four holes to go, Kupcho sat at 15-under par, while Jessica Korda, a group ahead of her, hit a bunker shot to two feet above the 15th hole.

After piping a drive down the 15th fairway, Kupcho arrived at her ball with a smile. She had the exact same yardage and pin location as she did when she holed out at this point two years ago.

“To be able to have that, that’s what I thought about, and I think that is what made me hit such a good shot into 15,” Kupcho said.

“Then I was able to just coast in.”

Korda missed her short par look, and Kupcho arrived at the 18th green with cheers of “Jennifer” echoing off Poppie’s Pond.

“One of the biggest things I’ve fought over the last year and a half is everyone is out here cheering for Nelly [Korda] or Lexi [Thompson] or someone else I’m playing with,” Kupcho said after her win. “I don’t ever hear, ‘Go Jennifer.’ That was really special today to have that.”

Three years after Kupcho became the first woman to win at Augusta, when she captured the Augusta National Women’s Amateur in 2019, she walked away Sunday as the last champion at the Dinah Shore Course. The Chevron Championship has been the LPGA’s closest equivalent to the PGA’s Masters at Augusta National, with its 51 years of history.

After Kupcho finished her press conference, she acknowledged the more than 20 girls standing outside the press room calling out, “Jennifer! Jennifer!”

After Kupcho’s performance this weekend, it’s hard to imagine those will be the last chants we hear for her.

3. Lorena Ochoa and founders earn overdue LPGA Hall of Fame induction

Last Tuesday, the LPGA announced it would remove the 10-year requirement for golfers to get into its Hall of Fame, making 27-time winner Lorena Ochoa eligible. The Mexican star is the first from her homeland to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

“It’s an honor to receive this recognition,” Ochoa said. “It was unexpected and very special to me.”

The LPGA also granted an honorary bid to the eight founders not currently in the Hall of Fame — Alice Bauer, Bettye Danoff, Helen Dettwiler, Helen Hicks, Opal Hill, Sally Sessions, Marilynn Smith, and Shirley Spork. Spork, 94, was the last remaining and living founder not in the Hall of Fame.

“Getting into the LPGA Hall of Fame is the highest honor ever in our profession, so I’ve climbed the whole ladder and gotten to the top,” Spork said. “I hope I can sit up on that ladder for a few more years and enjoy it.”

Stacy Lewis, the former world No. 1, said last week that she worked behind the scenes to try to make this possible.

“Since Shirley is getting older, we needed to do it before we lose all of our founders,” Lewis said. “They should be in the LPGA Hall of Fame. Without them we wouldn’t be where we are.”

Membership expanded from 25 to 34 with the update. Under the new roles, a gold medal won at the Olympics also earns a player a point, retroactively granting points to Inbee Park from 2016 and Nelly Korda from Tokyo last summer.

Still, there are questions about whether the tour went far enough with the changes. Since the turn of the millennia, only five players have passed the 27-point benchmark to earn their way in: Annika Sorenstam, Karrie Webb, Se Ri Pak, Inbee Park and Lorena Ochoa.

4. Jin Young Ko’s historic run ends

At the end of the first round Thursday, Ko sat a stroke outside of the cut line with her first over-par card in 35 rounds, marking an LPGA-record 34 straight rounds under par. After battling back with a second-round 68 to make the cut and sit two-under par and seven behind the lead, Ko opened up about how tired she felt after the JTBC Classic.

“I think last week was a tough course, so I used lots of energy on the course, and then [it was] hilly, so my body feels a little tired,” she said Friday.

Ko, the 2021 CME Group Tour Championship winner and LPGA Player of the Year, ended up at even par for a T-53 finish at Mission Hills. The result brought her run of 10 straight top-10 finishes to an end.

Ko hasn’t broken the top 50 now in her last two major starts, with this week’s finish following a T-60 at the Amundi Evian Championship last July. The South Korean said her goal is to accomplish the career grand slam of winning all five majors, and she checked two off the list in 2019: the Chevron Championship and the Amundi Evian Championship.

The World No. 1’s next event, as of now, is the DIO Implant Open in Los Angeles starting April 21.

5. Jessica Korda knocks on the major championship door

While the No. 2 player in the world, Nelly Korda, is out indefinitely with a blood clot, her sister took up the mantle over the weekend. Jessica pushed Kupcho with a Sunday 69 to finish in second, her best result at a major championship. For a brief moment, Korda trailed Kupcho by two with four to play, but she missed a short par putt on the 15th green to fall behind.

“Second place is not bad after being 3-over through 7, so pretty proud of myself,” Korda said.

The Kordas are one of three sister pairs to win on the LPGA, joining Annika and Charlotta Sorenstam, and Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn. The tour, however, has yet to have a pair of sisters win major titles — Annika, Nelly and Ariya are the major champions of the bunch.

Jessica Korda currently has the most victories of any active LPGA player without a major title. With her second-place finish, she’s trending in the direction of making history alongside her sister.

“I’ve always been hungry. If you’re not hungry, you’re in the wrong place,” she said.

“I’ve been close a bunch of times, and sometimes it just needs to be meant to be, and currently it hasn’t been.”

Kent Paisley is a contributing writer at Just Women’s Sports covering golf and the LPGA. He also contributes to Golf Digest. Follow him on Twitter @KentPaisley.

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. — Hinako Shibuno has gotten used to the outpouring of attention since she won the 2019 AIG Women’s Open for Japan’s first major victory since 1977 less than a year after turning professional. As she walked off the course at Dinah Shores on Friday as the clubhouse leader at nine-under par, it became clear that the media apparatus and fans now gravitate to the bright Japanese star wherever she goes.

“It’s very familiar,” Shibuno said through a translator Friday, “that I can see the Japanese media all the way from Japan.”

After carding a six-under 66 Friday to take the outright lead at the Chevron Championship, the 23-year-old first met with Japanese media, doing an on-camera interview with Mitsuki Katahira. The former No. 1 amateur player in the world and six-year broadcaster was there with WOWOW media, a Japanese television station.

Following her on-camera interview, Shibuno walked over to meet with American media and conducted a press conference with her manager serving as her translator.

After that, the star stepped outside the press conference area and held court with the Japanese print media, conducting a 10-minute Q&A next to the practice green and answering whatever questions the reporters posed to her in the sweltering desert heat.

Regardless of how well or where she plays, the major champion always chats with the Japanese media daily. On Wednesday, Shibuno held a recorded press conference in the shade near the practice chipping area, following the precedent set by Ai Miyazato, the former Japanese World No. 1 who retired from the LPGA in 2017.

Even at the LPGA’s qualifying school, Q-Series, WOWOW broadcast Shibuno’s performances live from Mobile, Ala. last November despite the 19-hour time difference in Japan. It’s a level of coverage not seen from the Japanese media since Miyazato’s retirement.

“Everybody loves her personality and they love to come film her,” Katahira said. “I think it’s kind of difficult for her. There’s so much attention on her in Japan, even off the golf course, too. I know she doesn’t say it, but I know it’s probably pretty stressful for her. I think she handles herself very well.”

While the Japanese golf world knows Japanese LPGA Tour winners Yuka Saso and Nasa Hataoka, Shibuno is a household name largely because of her upbeat personality. The media has nicknamed her the “Smiling Cinderella.”

“She’s always smiling,” Katahira said. “Even under pressure, she was smiling and high-fiving. That makes everybody become a fan instantly, I think.”

That carries over into her media interactions. Shibuno laughed after explaining to reporters that her favorite snacks are Chicken Breast chips that she makes in the microwave. She then waved with two hands at the conclusion, saying “arigato gozaimasu” (meaning “thank you”) to the American media.

The attention follows the star wherever she goes. A fan leaped and fist-pumped in excitement after Shibuno made an uphill eight-foot birdie putt on a par 5. Another fan yelled out “yokatta!” — Japanese for “It was good!”

On the 11th tee, Shibuno acknowledged a fan who told her “nice birdie,” with a smile and a “thank you.”

It’s difficult to see the depths of her fandom from across the Pacific Ocean. If Japan hosted the Chevron Championship, Katahira believes the fans would rival the crowds swarming Augusta National during The Masters, a major on the PGA Tour. As the fervor grows, it becomes more challenging for Shibuno to live up to the demands.

“From 2019, winning British Open,” Shibuno said, “it’s more expectations from fans, so it’s getting easier.”

The fans on-site at the Chevron Championship have been treated to another of Shibuno’s strong major performances this week. Her two best finishes on the LPGA Tour have come at major — the AIG Women’s Open, during her first trip outside of Japan in 2019, and a fourth-place finish at the 2020 U.S. Women’s Open, where she held the lead through 54 holes. Shibuno credits her matured game for the strides she’s made since winning her first major championship.

Now, as she heads into the third round with Jennifer Kupcho and two other golfers just one stroke behind her, she’s embracing the gravity of the moment without getting too ahead of herself.

“It’s very sad to play the final season,” Shibuno said Thursday, “but I wanted to just play well, finish well.”

Kent Paisley is a contributing writer at Just Women’s Sports covering golf and the LPGA. He also contributes to Golf Digest. Follow him on Twitter @KentPaisley.

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. — For the second time in just over a month, Jennifer Kupcho is partnering up.

Six weeks after getting married in mid-February, the American polished a six-under par 66 in the opening round of the Chevron Championship to sit tied for the lead with Minjee Lee entering Friday. Kupcho got there grouped alongside Solheim Cup teammate and close friend Lizette Salas, who attended her wedding in mid-February. After hugging on the 18th hole, Salas asked Kupcho to be her teammate at the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational, the LPGA Tour’s team event in July, writing the question on her scorecard.

Kupcho immediately accepted, and the friends walked arm-in-arm to the scorer’s tent.

“After that performance,” Salas said, “I’m not going to miss an opportunity to ask her.”

Kupcho’s work with her other partner, husband Jay Monahan, who caddies on the LPGA Tour, fueled her nine-birdie performance Thursday, including four consecutive birdies from the 11th to the 14th holes. During their training, they focused on making sure Kupcho takes her putter straight back and through, compared to when she used to cut across the ball, to attain more consistent results.

“I have been working on my putting a lot,” Kupcho explained. “I mean, as everyone in the world says, my putting is not my strong suit.”

She took advantage of the pure greens of the Dinah Shore course Thursday with 24 putts, matching her career-low from the first round at the 2021 ISPS Handa World Invitational and the second round of the 2019 Taiwan Swinging Skirts.

“I think it’s just being comfortable on this golf course,” Kupcho said, “I get here and I just feel comfortable. I love this place. Then getting to play with Lizette, who is my good friend, it was just all comfortable and really fun.”

The golfers’ camaraderie was on display for the entire round. On the 16th hole, Salas, who averages 18 yards less off the tee than Kupcho, outdrove her by a couple of yards. Salas turned to the gallery and said, “Hey, I just outdrove her,” to laughter and applause from the fans, and she remained jovial while shooting two-over par Thursday.

When they partnered together at the Solheim Cup, Salas, known for her putting ability, trusted Kupcho with reading the greens at Inverness.

On Thursday, the greens and the scenery of the Dinah Shore course also comforted Kupcho during her opening round. The layout and looming San Jacinto mountain range remind the 24-year-old of the desert golf in Colorado, where she grew up, and in Arizona, where she lives now.

“Just to see the same kind of grass and everything like that,” Kupcho said, “it’s just a comfort for me.”

Even after she missed the cut last week at the JTBC Classic, the pressure of major championships brings out Kupcho’s best. Salas, who described Kupcho at the Solheim Cup as someone with ice water in her veins, sees her fiery approach as what drives her success.

“She was a core of our team, our duo, and we complement each other very well,” Salas said. “She’s a fierce competitor. You can just tell. She hates making bogey. She just bounces back right after. That’s just how she is.”

Kupcho’s competitiveness has fueled her at some of the most significant events in women’s golf. In 2019, Kupcho outlasted 2019 individual NCAA Champion Maria Fassi at the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur. Then, Kupcho blitzed up the leaderboard with a closing 66 at the 2019 Evian Championship, the fourth major on the LPGA calendar, to finish tied for second in the best major performance of her career. In Kupcho’s first Solheim Cup last summer, she went 2-0-1 in team play alongside Salas.

Now, as she sits atop the leaderboard entering Day 2 at the Chevron Championship, she’s in a position to contend to become the first American to win the event since Brittany Lincicome in 2015.

“I admire her,” Salas said. “Even though I’m a ten-year veteran, she’s someone I admire. Her game is awesome. It’s on point.”

Kent Paisley is a contributing writer at Just Women’s Sports covering golf and the LPGA. He also contributes to Golf Digest. Follow him on Twitter @KentPaisley.