Marina Alex won the Palos Verdes Championship for the second time on Sunday, breaking a tie with a two-putt birdie on the par-5 16th and parring the next two holes to beat Jin Young Ko by one stroke.
Alex ended with a 5-under 66 to finish at 10-under 274 at the rough and windy Palos Verdes Golf Club, three shots behind Hannah Green.
“The hard work has paid off,” said Alex, the 31-year-old from New Jersey who recently fought a herniated disk in her lower back. “I wasn’t sure if this would ever happen again if I’m being perfectly honest. It’s been tough. We’re all getting older. I’m getting older. There are so many amazing players out here. The competition is really, really difficult.
“So, I just didn’t know if my mind and body were going to put me back in a position that I was going to be able to do it again. Today was the day.”
Ko, the world number one, shot a 66 as well. She finished roughly an hour ahead of Alex in the first-year event, which marked the end of the LPGA Tour’s two-week, five-tournament West Coast swing.
“My swing was really better than first three days,” Ko said. “I got something — I found something, so hit really well today.”
Alex made a bogey on the par-4 third, then birdied the par-4 fifth, par-5 seventh, and par-4 eighth holes. She added birdies on the par-3 11th and par-12th holes, as well as a two-putt from 40 feet on the 16th, to grab the lead for the first time.
“Today was amazing,” Alex stated. “I’m kind of not really there with processing what went down today, but it’s been a really tough couple years. I mean, since the COVID — that slowed all of us down.
“And then I was injured really quick after that. Had seven months off, and it’s just been a really tough rebuilding back. Coming into this year I finally have felt good physically, like really good.”
Alex also took first place in the 2018 Portland Classic. She tied for tenth place in the LA Open last week at Wilshire Country Club.
Lydia Ko (70) and Megan Khang (68) tied for third place at 8 under par. Green carded her second consecutive 72, tying for fifth place at 7 under with Ryann O’Toole (68), Andrea Lee (69), and Annie Park (69).
Anna Davis, the champion of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur, finished 70th in her debut LPGA Tour outing with a 76. Spring Valley, east of San Diego, is where the 16-year-old is from. A sponsor exemption was granted to her.
“It’s been a really fun experience, I would say,” Davis said. “Overall, it’s been really fun. Super good experience, and it’s something I look forward to doing in my future. So, glad that I got to see a little sneak peek this week.”