Koch to Defend First Title


Sweden's Carin Koch returns to Corning Country Club in Corning, NY, to defend her first LPGA title. The 31-year-old will try to join Rosie Jones as the only player to win back-to-back Corning Classics. Jones accomplished the feat in 1996-97.
Koch captured the title last year, shooting four rounds in the 60s as she defeated Maria Hjorth and Mhairi McKay by two shots.
Koch, who started the day two shots off the pace, carded a bogey-free 66 on Sunday to become the fifth first-time winner at this tournament. With her husband Stefan on the bag for the first time in more than a year, Koch went four-under par on the first five holes, including an eagle on No. 5 to keep pace with Hjorth, who birdied four of the first seven holes.
Hjorth, who tied the course record the day prior with a nine-under 63, fell out of the lead with bogeys at eight and nine. After a birdie on 12, Koch completed the comeback with six straight pars to seal her maiden win. McKay, who double-bogeyed the 17th hole, chipped in on 18 to tie for second.

Two-time champion Jones has fared well at this event the last six years; winning twice, finishing second, fourth, 10th and 32nd. Not surprising, Jones is the all-time money leader at this event with $408,476 in earnings and has a scoring average of 70.76.
Hjorth has the lowest scoring average at 70.00 among players with 12 or more rounds played.
The purse was increased by $100,000 from last year and has increased eight straight years.
Corning Country Club has hosted this event since its inception in 1979.
Last year, Corning Country Club was among the worst hit by a 'microburst,' which is a combination of gusting winds and horizontal rain, as it suffered severe damage the week prior to the event. The course damage included: 25 mature trees blown over, 11 electronic scoreboards down, two main leaderboards broken in half and all skyboxes leveled.
Tournament director Dawn Marie Castellana made a plea to the community for help in cleaning up. By mid- morning, the town responded with more than 60 volunteers on the course picking up after the storm. In addition to the mass volunteer effort, two local construction companies donated labor and machinery to help get the course back in shape for the tournament.
There have been 11 holes-in-one at this event, but none since 1997 when Anne-Marie Palli aced the 11th hole.
Full-field for the LPGA Corning Classic