Ko holds off Kang to win Gainbridge LPGA

Lydia Ko picks up the 17th victory of her LPGA tour career as she shoots 69 on final day to secure one-shot victory over Danielle Kang in Florida

By Associated Press

Last Updated: 30/01/22 11:04pm

Lydia Ko outlasted Danielle Kang for a a one-shot victory in the Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio as the New Zealander held her nerve in a thrilling finish.

Ko pulled ahead with a birdie on the 15th hole and matched scores with Kang the rest of the way, closing with a three-under 69 to hold off her good friend on a chilly Sunday in Florida.

Ko won for the second-straight season after enduring a three-year slump and picked up the 17th victory of her LPGA Tour career.

Kang, who closed with a 68, was trying to win back-to-back for the second time in three years. She won the season-opening Tournament of Champions a week ago in Orlando.

„I just tried to focus on me and play the best golf I can,“ Ko, 24, said.

Of Kang, she added: „She’s obviously one of the players I’ve known for the longest time out here. She has kind of taken me under her wing.

„At points it was a bit of a grind but I’m glad that I could get that done.“

US Women’s Open champion Yuka Saso, now playing under the Japanese flag, birdied the last two holes for a 67 and finished two shots behind.

Ko finished at 14-under 274.

Nelly Korda closed with a 70 and tied for 20th, a result that is expected to drop her from No. 1 in the women’s world ranking. Jin Young Ko, who skipped both Florida events to stay home in South Korea, would return to No. 1.

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The LPGA Tour now takes a one-week break before wrapping up its Florida swing at the LPGA Drive On Championship.

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