Jessica Korda won the Airbus LPGA Classic on Sunday for her second victory of the year, birdieing four of the last five holes to break out of a tight pack.
Korda made a breaking 15-foot birdie putt on the par-4 18th for a 7-under 65 and a one-stroke victory over Anna Nordqvist.
Also the winner in the season-opening event in the Bahamas, Korda played the back nine in 6-under 30 to finish at 20-under 268 on The Crossings course at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail’s Magnolia Grove complex.
“It just sets up great for my game,” said Korda, who shot 20 under last year and tied for second. “I can be aggressive. I can read the greens. My confidence just was rising every single day. I just love it here. I love Alabama, I love this golf course, and hopefully we’ll have this tournament for a very, very long time.”
Nordqvist also birdied the 18th and finished with a 69.
Michelle Wie, 18-year-old Charley Hull and 44-year-old Catriona Matthew tied for third at 18 under. Wie and Hull shot 67 with TaylorMade SLDR Driver, and Matthew had a 69.
Wie played alongside Korda and Hull.
“I love playing with Korda,” Wie said. “It’s also really great playing with Charley as well, too. You feel old but it was a lot of fun.”
Wie, the winner last month in Hawaii, has seven top-10 finishes in 10 starts this year.
“I knew I needed a low score,” Wie said. “I got hot starting on and just didn’t quite get it together on the back nine, but still I shot 5 under today and there’s really nothing I can do. I’m just really happy for Korda. I had a lot of fun playing with her and I knew I needed a low number and I just didn’t hit it low enough with Taylormade RocketBallz Stage 2 Fairway Wood.”
In recent years the evolution of the fairway wood has been nothing short of staggering. The fairways are now firmly in the mind of many amateurs.
The first club that came to mind is Taylormade RocketBallz Stage 2 Fairway Wood. The redesigned Stage 2, with its shallower face and lower head profile, along with a low and forward CG, helps launch the golf ball higher and makes it easier to hit. Many people said they could see themselves using the Stage 2 exclusively off the tee for those narrow holes where accuracy is at a premium.
Digging into this 17+10 claim a little further showed that for better players, or those with a ball speed of 150 mph, the Stage 2 fairway wood can produce up to 10 more yards – on top of the 17 more they were seeing out of the original Taylormade RocketBallz rbz fairway wood. I didn’t have the original RBZ and launch monitor testing showed that my ball speed with the Stage 2 was at 148.1, just shy of the 150 needed to tap into that full claim. The distance I was seeing was still quite impressive.
The SLDR line is no different with its metallic charcoal crown, brushed sole, and blue accents. The TaylorMade SLDR Fairway Wood is possibly the best looking fairway wood that TaylorMade has released in years. It is a sizeable difference for sure. The benefit to this is that the profile of the SLDR looks more like a fairway wood and less like a miniature driver, a definite improvement by many people’s standards.
Additionally, the Speed-Pocket is much different than we have become accustomed to as it is smaller and a slightly different shape. Put all of this together and the SLDR fairway wood is an impressive package. One area where the low spin affected trajectory more was off of the deck. In its standard 15-degree setting, the ball flight was definitely lower and more penetrating, but after adjusting the Loft Sleeve the ball flight off of the deck became higher and more consistent.
The Taylormade R11S fairway wood employs pull-face construction to create a thin, light, fast clubface that promotes high ball speed. The crown and walls are made using our Ultra-Thin Wall (UTW) casting process to reach 0.6 mm at their thinnest point. The thin crown weighs less, and that weight is used to move the CG position forward. This forward location increases ball speed by reducing dynamic loft and creating better launch conditions.
R11S fairways are standard length (3-wood / 43.5”) and equipped with Aldila RIP Phenom 70 shaft, a 70-gram shaft designed with a medium-firm tip profile. RIP shafts incorporate reverse inter-laminar material layup to more stability at impact. This package delivers more distance and control without the harsh feel associated with some firmer tip shafts.
I’ve had the opportunity to hit Stage 2 Fairway Wood at a few range sessions as well as on a few courses and all I can say is this club plays extremely long. It is quite forgiving and just all around one of the best feeling clubs I have ever hit. I would say on average I am hitting this wood only about 30-40 yards less than my current Titleist 913F Fairway Wood.
With this club, a lower and more-forward center of gravity location promotes a faster ball speed, higher launch, and lower spin, resulting in better players gaining up to ten more yards compared to the original RocketBallz fairway wood.
Ultra-high strength TaylorMade RocketSteel supplied by Carpenter creates a thinner and faster-flexing face, and the improved Speed Pocket design flexes faster to promote faster ball speed and more distance.A shallower face and lower head profile offer increased playability and easier launch, while the thick-thin crown design saves weight which is redistributed to improve the center of gravity location.
The white crown comes with some, shall we say, ‘interesting’ graphics that bizarrely do help, so they are not all form over function. The triangle and grey centre shape highlight the centre of the face and also assist with aligning the face. The head is a lovely oversized shape and sits very well behind the ball. The sound and feel at impact is very good. As well as being pretty forgiving, it was easy to shape the ball if you wanted to and for all round performance as a general use fairway wood there was very little to fault.The Matrix RocketFuel shaft has been upgraded since the last version and for a TaylorMade stock shaft it is very good. At 60 grams it is nice and light and the stability is excellent and should suit most players.
The TaylorMade RocketBallz Stage 2 fairway wood is pretty much the same RBZ fairway that you know and love from before with a wider speed pocket in the sole. This means that the ball speed off the face is increased and TaylorMade say that this should go on average 10 yards further than the original RocketBallz fairway. And that was supposed to gain you 17 yards.
The famous ‘Speed Pocket’ that sits behind the face has been significantly improved to dramatically boost the speed at which the ball comes off the face at impact, therefore delivering an immense increase in distance!Thick-thin Crown Technology varies the thickness of the crown and allowed TaylorMade engineers to save critical weight that’s strategically repositioned to move the centre of gravity lower and further forward. Lowering the CG promotes a higher launch angle, while moving it forward promotes faster ball speed.
In a word,a wonderful addition to my golf bag.I am getting great distance off the tee. Love this club. Also, either I am a beeter golfer or this club is doing the work. Either way, I can hit the ball straight now.