Ko leads all the way to win Australian Open
By Andrew Spence
Playing in her first tournament as an LPGA member, Ko shot a three-under 69 to post a four-round total of 14 under and win by three shots in the South Australian capital from compatriot Hyejin Choi.
Australian LPGA rookie Hannah Green was third on 10 under from fellow Aussie Katherine Kirk who shot the round of the final day to finish on nine-under on the difficult Koyonga course. The win earned Ko $US195,000.
Ko, 22, started her round with two birdies and was never headed despite Choi closing to within one stroke midway through the final round.
She said she was quite nervous during the round but knew the victory was hers when she holed a birdie putt on 17.
Earlier in the week, Ko flagged she wanted to drink some South Australian wine after the tournament and she said after the win she would open the bottle of Penfolds Grange she was given at the presentation ceremony.
Ko said the win was particularly significant for her as it came on Korean New Year’s Day.
“I will meet Angel Yin and I think we will party tonight on the beach,” she said.
It is the third year in a row the Australian Women’s Open has been held in Adelaide following successful events at Royal Adelaide and The Grange.
It was announced during the tournament that the South Australian capital will continue to host the event until at least 2021.
The players praised the quality of the Kooyonga course with former world No1 Ariya Jutanagarn, who finished tied for seventh, saying it was among the toughest on the LPGA tour.
Green, 21, played in the final pairing with Ko and said it was great to be contending in her national open particularly in her rookie LPGA year.
“I was proud of myself with how I handled myself … all around, it’s been a good week,” Green said.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better start.
“My goal was to get into every major, and I know that’s quite hard, being a rookie this year, so hopefully I’ve made enough money and keep making money to make sure that I’m definitely in.”
Marina Alex was the highest placed American, finishing in a tie for fifth on seven-under with Aussie No 1 Minjee Lee.
South Australia’s Stephanie Na was in a tie for 19th with New Zealand’s Lydia Ko.
Na started her round brilliantly with a hole in one on the par three third hole, hitting the ace with a six-iron from 153 metres.
However, unlike Sweden’s Jenny Haglund, who won a Genesis car for her ace on the 14th on Saturday, there was no prize for Na.
“I was just pumped to hit the green because it is not an easy green to hit. There was no car but one on the scorecard is always nice to write.