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Lydia Ko untouchable at Lotte Championship, breaking tourney record


KAPOLEI, Hawaii (AP) — Lydia Ko is {golfing} like she is a child once more. In different phrases, she’s powerful to beat.

No one got here shut at this week’s Lotte Championship. Ko torched Kapolei Golf Club and match data within the course of. A final-round 65 Saturday left her at 28-under 260 and 7 photographs forward of all people.

It introduced again vivid recollections of {the teenager} from New Zealand who grew to become the youngest golfer — feminine or male — to rise to No. 1 the world in 2015. She is the LPGA’s youngest-ever winner, main winner, Rookie and Player of the Year.

Ko, who turns 24 subsequent Saturday, gained 14 instances in her first 81 begins, together with twice as an newbie in 2012 and ’13. But she had solely gained as soon as since — three years in the past — till Saturday.

“When it doesn’t happen you do doubt,” Ko stated. “If I said I didn’t doubt myself at all it would be a lie. I wondered if I’d ever be back in the winners circle, but obviously I’m grateful for all that’s happened in my career so far.

“It’s been a fun week in Hawaii and to be back in this position is obviously super cool.”

Ko got here up three strokes shy of the LPGA record of 31 underneath. That was set by Sei Young Kim, who completed tied with Inbee Park, 22-year-old Nelly Korda and Irish rookie Leona Maguire at 267.

Park and Kim, each from South Korea, are ranked 2-3 on this planet and Korda is fourth. Kim beat Park in a Lotte playoff six years in the past, whereas Maguire was within the midst of a superb faculty profession at Duke.

Park, who vacationed in Hawaii as a baby, now has 5 Top-Five finishes at Lotte, however no wins. With her 63, she shared low-round honors Saturday with Jenny Shin.

Shin tied for sixth one other two photographs again with Wei-Ling Hsu, Sarah Schmelzel, reigning U.S. Women’s Open champ A Lim Kim and 19-year-old Yuka Saso, making her sixth LPGA begin.

Saso led after two rounds. Ko and Korda surged forward Friday, with Ko’s 21 underneath rating after 54 holes a shot higher than Lotte’s 72-hole match record. That was set at Ko Olina Golf Club, which hosted Lotte its first eight years.

It wasn’t an enormous shock. In Ko’s final spherical two weeks in the past she closed the ANA Inspiration, the 12 months’s first main, with a 62. In her final 100 holes she has only one bogey.

Korda struggled early and when Ko missed a protracted birdie putt at No. 8 she was three photographs forward. That flipped a change.

She birdied the following 4 holes and 6 of her final 10. She was flawless, once more. Low rounds had been frequent this week, however nobody got here near catching Ko, who tried to “keep it simple” and admitted she was impressed by Hideki Matsuyama and Jordan Spieth’s current wins.

“I think I was putting a lot of pressure on myself and I know there were expectations,” Ko acknowledged. “I slept great last night. I just said, ‘Hey, my fate is already chosen.’ I’m just going to play the best golf I can today. I hung in there.”

Ko’s $300,000 first prize pushes her over $11.5 million for her profession.

“I think it’s a great on her,” Park stated. “She definitely had her really good times and she really definitely struggled in the middle there, and to come back strong like this is great to see.”

Canada’s Brooke Henderson, who gained the final two Lotte championships, completed in a tie for twenty seventh.

Lydia Ko untouchable at Lotte Championship, breaking tourney record initially appeared on NBCSports.com

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