The greatest moments in life reveal a lot about our character. What will we do when we face a challenge? Or better yet, how do we react when given the opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream? It’s hard to imagine how we would react in these situations. But when the time comes, it’s always an opportunity to learn what we’re really made of.
Gemma Dryburgh has spent years imagining what it would be like to win on the LPGA Tour. On Sunday, she first met that feeling when she fired a bogey free, final round 65 to capture the TOTO Japan Classic for her first win. Since joining the Tour in 2018, Dryburgh has recorded just three top 10 finishes and wondered if that day of victory would ever come. If so, what would that experience be like? She found out on Sunday.
“When I dreamed about this moment, I thought I would be super, super nervous. I was nervous, I won’t lie. But I was incredibly calm to be honest,” Dryburgh said after his win. “It’s been a dream of mine for a long time. A lot of hard work has gone into it, so it means a lot.”
A career-defining moment like the one Dryburgh enjoyed on Sunday is one that many athletes live for. A chance to be put in the competition’s pressure cooker and know if they have the guts to withstand the heat.
It was no different from the situation Nelly Korda found herself in a year ago at the Pelican Women’s Championship, the Tour’s next stop in Belleair, Florida. That’s when Korda hit a triple bogey on the 71st hole to relinquish the lead. But she bounced back with a birdie on the last hole in regulation to enter a playoff, which she won with one more birdie on the first extra hole. It was a real testament to Korda’s character.
The defending champion returns to Florida for the penultimate event of the season, where the top 120 women’s soccer players will face off for a $2 million purse. Returning to the Pelican Golf Club will once again be a test of Korda’s resolve as he looks to win for the first time this season on the LPGA Tour in what has been a challenging year for the former world No. months. with a blood clot in her arm.
Korda will tackle one of the strongest courses of the year at the Pelican Golf Club, where the world’s best make final preparations ahead of the CME Group Tour Championship which concludes the season next week in Naples, Florida. Lydia Ko, Lexi Thompson and Sei Young Kim, who lost in the playoffs to Korda last season, top the Pelican field. Three of the year’s biggest champions, Jennifer Kupcho, Brooke Henderson and In Gee Chun, will compete on Thursday. And Jin Young Ko is also set to return to competition after pulling out of his last match in the BMW Ladies Championship due to a wrist injury.
The Pelican Women’s Championship provides a final opportunity for players to secure their ticket to the CME Group Tour Championship, which is limited to the top 60 of the Race to the CME Globe. Ahead of this week’s event, three great champions are on the bubble with Anna Nordqvist in 59th, Stacy Lewis in 60th and Ariya Jutanugarn in 61st. They each need a solid week to secure their spot on the field at the last event of the year.
With his victory on Sunday in Japan, Dryburgh moved up from 78th to 41st in the Race to the CME Globe Standings, securing his field spot in the CME Group Tour Championship. She learned a lot about herself from her win on Sunday, but how she handles the next two weeks will reveal even more about Dryburgh’s character, along with those she’ll face in the final events of the season. Not only are coveted Tour Championship slots at stake, but a chance to make history as players vie for the year’s top honors.
True character is revealed in the greatest moments of life. And it doesn’t get much bigger than the next two weeks on the LPGA Tour.