Nelly Korda returns to World No. 1

Nelly Korda started the year at No. 1, but then she missed four months with a blood clot in her left arm and has been struggling to regain her form ever since. Her only victory was in the Aramco Team Series in Spain on the Ladies European Tour.

Korda won at Pelican Golf Club for the second straight year, this one elevating her past Thai teenager Atthaya Thitikul to reclaim the No. 1 ranking. This is her first LPGA Tour title, and the tears when it was over were evident how much it meant to her after all her struggles.

Korda became the first person on the LPGA this season to successfully defend a title, closing with a 64 to finish 14 under in the weather-shortened 54-hole event. The 24-year-old now has eight career LPGA titles and $7,455,977 in her career. She also won an LET event in Spain earlier this season.

Korda began the day two strokes back of rookie Allisen Corpuz. Three players held a two-stroke lead throughout the course of the final round, including Carlota Ciganda, Thompson and Korda.

The leading 60 players in the Race to the CME Globe advance to the season-ending Tour Championship next week in Naples.

Maria Fassi of Mexico won’t be joining them. The 24-year-old Mexican, who began the tournament with a 62 in search of her first LPGA victory, was right on the edge of making it to the CME Group Tour Championship with two holes to play.

But she hit 3-wood off the 17th tee into a bunker, caught it heavy and failed to save par from about 30 yards short of the green. Needing par on the tough 18th, Fassi left herself a 60-foot putt over two ridges. She didn’t get past the second ridge, and the three-putt bogey gave her a 71 and a three-way tie for seventh.

Fassi, who came into the week at No. 72, finished at No. 65 in the points race. The top 63 get into Naples because three players won’t be going.

The final spot for the $7 million purse next week — the winner gets $2 million, a record for women’s golf — went to Ariya Jutanugarn, who had missed the cut at Pelican.