South Korea's Jin Young Ko shot a 3-under par 69 yesterday to clinch a 3-shot, start-to-finish win the Women's Australian Open. Playing in her first tournament as a full LPGA member, Ko shot 65, 69, 71, 69 to lead after all four rounds and to finish with a total of 274, 14-under par at the Kooyonga Golf Club. She is the first player to win her first tournament as an LPGA member in the tour's 67-year history.
Ko started the day four shots clear of 21-year-old Hannah Green, who was bidding to become the first Australian to win her national crown since Karrie Webb won the last of her five titles in 2014. Green played solidly in the final group with Ko, shooting 69 and missing a birdie on the 18th which cost her a share of second place.
The stiffest challenge yesterday came from Ko's compatriot Hyejin Choi who closed within a shot at the turn, carding four birdies on her first nine holes. Ko began with birdies at the first and second holes, then stumbled with bogeys on the par-3 third and seventh holes. But just as her lead came under threat, she found another gear, birdying the ninth hole to regain a two-shot lead. She then pulled away with birdies at the 13th and 17th in what seemed a nerveless finish, showing the experience gained as a 10-time winner on the Korean LPGA Tour. She ended with a regulation par on the 18th to claim her second LPGA title after previously winning the co-sanctioned KEB-Hana Bank Championship. Ko said she felt "lots" of nerves over the final round. Asked her reaction when she holed out on 18, she said "relief."