Golf: Ko the leading amateur once again

Lydia Ko. Photo / AP
Lydia Ko. Photo / AP

World No1 amateur Lydia Ko has saved her best for last at the Kraft Nabisco Championship on the LPGA Tour in California to secure the leading amateur honours for the third time in a major.

The 15-year-old New Zealander who had shot rounds of 72, 74 and 71 at the Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage to be in a share of 39th place, carded a three under par 69 in the final round to climb into a share of 25th place.

Ko finished on a two under par total to claim the leading amateur title by three shots from Northern Ireland's Stephanie Meadow who finished on a one over total after an even par 72 in the final round.

Ko, who was looking to become the youngest major winner in history, was pleased with her performance in only her third major championship.

"Low amateur was one of my goals coming in so I'm very happy and excited to get low am," said the youngest winner in professional golf history.

"I think I played really well out there but thought I struggled with my putting but when I look back to it, I only missed one or two within nine feet.

So it was just the birdie putts I was struggling with. I finished well and that is the biggest thing for me."

The New Zealand Women's Open champion kicked into gear when she made back to back birdies to close out the front nine to make the turn in two under par 36. She added further birdies on the 15th and 17th and dropped her only shot of the day at the par four 16th.

Ko finished 13 shots back from South Korean Inbee Park who secured her second major win by carding a three under par 69 in the final round to win by four from compatriot So Yeon Ryu.

The New Zealand rep, who will climb from her ranking of No 25 on the Official World Rankings after this performance, continues her incredible record of never missing a cut in the 15 professional events she has played since making her debut in a pro event at the NZ Women's Open in 2010.

She has won three titles, finished runner-up twice and third once in world-class fields. She has also finished as the low amateur in all three major championships she has contested to earn an amateur record that is one of the best ever seen in the game.


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