Hira Naveed goes close to stunning LPGA Tour victory

2nd Apr 2024

Hira Naveed

It took world No.1 Nelly Korda to deny Perth’s Hira Naveed a sensational breakthrough victory at the LPGA Tour’s Ford Championship in Arizona.

A graduate of LPGA Qualifying School Series in December, Naveed was making just the second start of her rookie season and made the cut on the number courtesy of back-to-back birdies late in Round 2 at Seville Golf & Country Club.

The 26-year-old shot 7-under 65 in the third round and when she made birdie at the par-three 8th on Sunday, joined Korda at the top of the leaderboard at 15-under par.

A bogey on nine against Korda’s birdie would create a two-shot deficit that Naveed (66) was unable to rein in, Korda (65) going on to win her third consecutive tournament by two strokes.

Although denied a maiden professional win, Naveed’s runner-up cheque for $US206,791 was above $100,000 more than her total winnings from the past four years on the Epson Tour. The result all but guarantees Naveed will keep her card for the 2025 season.

“It’s an experience for me,” said Naveed, who spent four years at Pepperdine University after coming through the Como Secondary College program in Perth. “It’s only my second tournament of the year, so just try to enjoy it as best as I can.”

Naveed shared the final-round stage with Korda, an experience in itself that she believes will serve her well in the months ahead. “She’s an amazing player. To share the stage with her is really an honour,” added Naveed.

Hannah Green had led the tournament at the halfway stage after a remarkable 11-under 61, although she played in the worst of highly windy conditions on Saturday to fall out of contention, eventually finishing T21st.

A version of this story first appeared on the Golf Australia website. Pic credit: Getty Images

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