Golf: Ko's luck runs out in final round

Tortuous slog around Canberra's fairways results in three-over par total of 76 and a third-place finish.

Lydia Ko watches the group ahead on the 5th hole.
Lydia Ko watches the group ahead on the 5th hole.

If Lydia Ko was seeking a good omen early in yesterday's fourth and final round of the Australian Open at Royal Canberra, she would not have found it at the first hole.

A wayward drive pushed her into the rough, her second shot rebounded from a tree and ended up further from the hole. By the time she had walked off the first green to the second tee she had a seven next to her name and a hill to climb.

A tired and sometimes tortuous slog around Canberra's fairways brought a final-round, three-over par total of 76, leaving her four shots behind playing partner and champion Jiyai Shin, of Korea.

World No1 Yani Tseng, of Taiwan, finished with a brilliant 66 to pip Ko for second by two shots.

Third would be a terrific result for most, but Ko's body language was speaking a different language.

The 15-year-old golfing phenomenon looked gutted that she had let an opportunity slip to add to her burgeoning reputation. She still hit 80 per cent of greens in regulation, so it was the putter that let her down.

It was still a surprise to see her struggle under the pressure.

At the 14th she was tied for the lead and in the heart of the green for two, looking a decent try for birdie.

Shin, on the other hand, flew her approach way left of the green and was left with a treacherous chip just to get up and down.

In the best shot of the tournament, Shin holed her chip and, perhaps rattled by such an unexpected development, Ko three-putted.

Shin walked off with a two-shot lead and Ko never threatened again.

At the end she was clinging on to third as she also bogeyed the par-three 17th.

"I'm really happy to be there because I've had a couple of good chances at this tournament but it hasn't worked out, so finally I won here," an elated Shin said after.

Shin mixed three birdies with two bogeys in a final round dogfight with Ko and Tseng, and added the Australian title to her two British Opens among 37 professional victories.

Final round leaderboard

Jiyai Shin (Korea) -18
Yani Tseng (Taiwan) -16
Lydia Ko (NZ) am -14
Moriya Jutanugarn (Thailand)-13
Beatriz Recari (Spain) -13
Carlota Ciganda (Spain) -12
Gwladys Nocera (Italy) -12
Katherine Hull-Kirk (Australia) -11
Catriona Matthew (Scotland) -11
Thidapa Suwannapura (Thail) -11.

- NZ Herald

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