Golf

Ko defeats Lewis in California to claim Swinging Skirts title

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Lydia Ko capped a memorable individual week by birdieing the final hole to beat America's Stacy Lewis by a single shot at the inaugural Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic. 

The New Zealander, just 17 years old, has now won three times on the US circuit but yesterday's victory was her first as a full-time member and came in the same week she was named one of Time Magazine's Top 100 Most Influential People in the World. 

South Korea's Jenny Shin finished two strokes adrift on 10 under while her compatriot Inbee Park lay one shot further back alongside Denmark's Line Vendel and China's Shanshan Feng. 

American Michelle Wie followed up last week's victory with another solid display of golf as her final-round 71 was enough to secure a tie for 13th

None of them could deny Ko, though, who showed maturity way beyond her years on the back nine of Lake Merced Golf Club to steal the title away from her playing partners Lewis and Shin.

Lewis, 29, had started Sunday with a one-shot lead that remained in tact until the tenth hole, where she made a bogey four to slip back into a tie with Ko who endured a tumultuous first nine holes, mixing three birdies with three bogeys as she tried and failed to break away at the top. 

However, back-to-back birdies at 13 and 14 propelled her into a two-shot lead with just four holes to go, after Lewis faltered once again - this time at 13. 

At the same time, Korea's Shin was making inroads with birdies at 8, 11 and 14 to give her an outside chance of her first LPGA victory, but Lewis wasn't done just yet either. 

She atoned for her mistakes at 10 and 13 by making gains at 14 and 16 to leave her needing another down the last to tie Ko - so long as the leading New Zealander did not produce a birdie herself. 

Despite Lewis making the birdie she needed, Ko was not to be denied as she showed tremendous mettle to hole her putt and seal her third win on the continent. For Lewis, it may not have been victory, but her 14th top-10 finish in 15 starts suggests the two-time major champion still has far more to give. 

It was Ko's day in the end, and she reserved special praise for the Swinging Skirts team for inspiring her to victory: “Yeah, definitely something is going on.

“I have been getting a lot of support from the Swinging Skirts team, Chairman Wong and Miss Chu. That’s why I kind of wanted to play better, to make them happy.

"They have been supporting me and invited me to their tournament in Taiwan. I won over there and I was so happy to do that and have my first win over there at their tournament.

"To kind of have my first LPGA win since I turned pro here again I think is great. I think they’re a great group of people, and I think it was a great golf course to win it.” 

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Topics:
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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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