DALY CITY (AP) — Poised and unflappable, Lydia Ko birdied the final hole for her third LPGA Tour victory and first as a professional, holding off Stacy Lewis and Jenny Shin on Sunday in the inaugural Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic.
It went down to the final shots, and the teen made a 6-foot birdie putt for a 3-under 69 moments before Lewis knocked in a 4-footer of her own to finish one stroke back at 11-under 277.
“The 18th hole I knew how loud the claps were and that I needed to get close and give myself a birdie chance,” Ko said.
After beginning the day a stroke behind Lewis, Ko birdied three of her final four holes on the front nine on the way to and 12-under 276 total at Lake Merced.
Ko earned $270,000, celebrating on the 18th green three days after celebrating her 17th birthday at the first tee box with the gallery singing “Happy Birthday.”
Ko will move up two spots to No. 2 in the next world ranking.
She won the Canadian Women’s Open as an amateur the last two years and took the Swinging Skirts World Ladies Masters in December in Thailand in her second start as a professional. She has six victories in pro events, also winning in Australia and New Zealand.
All three of Ko’s LPGA wins have come on courses most of the other players also played for the first time.
• • •
Noh refuses to wilt, takes first PGA Tour triumph
AVONDALE, La. (AP) — As Seung-Yul Noh exhaled and tilted his head back in a skyward gaze on the 18th green, follow South Korean players Y.E. Yang and Charlie Wi charged toward him, spraying him with bottled beer.
Noh smiled, removed his hat, held both arms out and soaked it all in.
The 22-year-old overcame windy conditions and the pressure that goes with attempting to secure a maiden PGA Tour triumph, shooting a 1-under 71 on Sunday to win the Zurich Classic by two shots.
He also knew he achieved another goal of providing some joy to a nation that has been reeling since a passenger ship capsized April 16, leaving 300 missing or dead.
“Hopefully, they’ll be happy,” said Noh, who wore black and yellow ribbons on his white golf hat to honor victims of the ferry accident.
While Noh, the leader through three rounds, never fell out of first, he did make his first three bogeys of the tournament and briefly fell into a tie with Keegan Bradley, the 2011 PGA Championship winner who had the gallery behind him.
But Bradley did himself in with a bogey on the fifth hole and a triple bogey on the sixth.