Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

Golf: Lydia Ko struggles in final round

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

Lydia Ko's progress at her opening LPGA event was ominous for three rounds before she showed an uncharacteristic fallibility.

The world No 1 began with a pair of 69's then 67 to share a two-stroke lead with Ha Na Jang going into the final round.

Then Ko's game unravelled like it has seldom done. Maybe it was the schedule changes caused by the rain interruptions, some ring rustiness or a lack of sharpness in her first outing for the season.

Whatever the cause, Ko's game was ragged in the final round with the teenager signing with a double bogey, five bogeys and four birdies for an untidy three over 75.

She hit 10 fairways and 10 greens and had a steady 28 putts but in a 10 hole stretch in the middle of her round she dropped six shots.

That slump left Ko tied for third while Jang kept her nerve to win her first LPGA title with a final round par 72.

For most in the field, a third place finish would be in a list of highlights and Ko will no doubt publicly tick this tournament as a promising start to the season.

It is and there will be enough for her coaching staff to work with as Ko collects her gear and heads for this week's NZ Open in Clearwater. It will also leave Ko with questions about the untidiness of some of her golf through the middle stages of her final round.

- NZ Herald

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