Ko outlasts Lewis to collect first professional win|
San Francisco, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Lydia Ko birdied the 18th hole Sunday,
completing a 3-under 69 to beat Stacy Lewis and win the inaugural Swinging
Skirts LPGA Classic.
Ko, 17, collected her third career win on the LPGA Tour, but first as a
professional, at 12-under 276. She won the CN Canadian Open in 2012 and 2013
as an amateur.
Lewis, who held the third-round lead, managed just a 1-under 71 Sunday at Lake
Merced Golf Club to finish in second place at 11-under 277.
"When I see her play, it just makes me feel like I need to play good to kind
of keep up with her. She's such a great player and I admire her all the way,"
Ko said about Lewis, whom she was paired with for all four rounds. "Someday I
want to become a great player like her."
Jenny Shin (68) took third at 10-under, while world No. 1 Inbee Park (68),
Line Vedel (69) and Shanshan Feng (70) shared fourth at minus-6. Hyo Joo Kim
(70) and P.K. Kongkraphan (72) tied for seventh at 4-under 284.
Lewis started the final round with a 1-stroke lead and opened with nine
straight pars to remain at 10-under.
Ko had a more adventurous front nine, making a bogey at the fourth to hand
Lewis a 2-stroke lead.
She bounced back with a birdie at the sixth, and traded a bogey at the seventh
with a birdie at the eighth to remain at 9-under.
Ko made it two gains in a row at the ninth to meet Lewis atop the leaderboard,
and the duo both bogeyed the 10th to remain tied at minus-9.
A 2-shot swing at the 13th put Ko in the lead for good. She birdied the hole
to move to 10-under and Lewis failed to convert a par putt from about 10 feet
to fall to minus-8 and into a tie for second with Shin.
Shin was also playing in the final group with Lewis and Ko, and had countered
a bogey at the seventh with birdies at the first, eighth and 11th holes to
Ko, Lewis and Shin all birdied the 14th before Lewis added another gain at the
16th to pull within one of Ko.
Lewis had a chance to earn a share of the lead with a lengthy birdie putt at
the 17th, but couldn't convert. Shin was able to roll in her birdie putt from
about 10 feet at the 17th to meet Lewis at 10-under.
All three players found the green with their third shot at the par-5 18th.
After Shin failed to make her birdie effort, Ko put the tournament away with a
birdie from about seven feet.
"It was just intense the whole way," Ko said about the final round. "At one
point I had a 2-shot lead, but then Stacy made a birdie and Jenny made a
birdie. At the 18th hole I knew how loud the claps were, so I knew I needed to
hit it close and give myself a birdie opportunity."
Lewis converted her short birdie putt to take sole possession of second place.
"I knew it was going to be tough today. I knew (Ko) wasn't going to go away
and Lydia played great. She answered every time I hit a shot in there," said
Lewis. "More credit to her. I did all I could there. I made three birdies
coming in and made her work for it at least."
NOTES: With the win, Ko is projected to move to No. 2 in Monday's world
rankings ... Ko was named one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people
on Thursday ... Dewi Claire Schreefel had a hole-in-one at the 12th. She won
$100,000 with the ace ... Jimin Kang also posted a hole-in-one at the third
... Lewis will move into the top spot of the Race to the CME Globe standings.
04/27 22:41:29 ET