Late birdies give Ko the winning edge at Kia Classic

Kiwi superstar Lydia Ko has claimed her second victory of the year winning the Kia Classic and cementing her position as the world’s number one golfer before heading into the first major championship of the year at the ANA Inspiration.

Ko birdied her final three holes for a four-stroke victory over world number two, Korea’s Inbee Park.

Lydia Ko Lydia Ko (Credit: LPGA)

18-year-old Ko went one better after finishing second at the JTBC Founders Cup last week where Sei Young Kim ran away with victory after shooting a final round 62 for a record-equalling 27-under total.

“I just kind of peeked at the leaderboard and saw Inbee was making a lot of birdies — Inbee doing her Inbee things,” Ko said. “I knew that I needed to focus up until the last moment and fortunately I made some birdies down the stretch.”

“I’ve been playing consistently well so I’m really happy with that and it’s just good to see the hard work we’ve put in the off-season,” Ko said. “Yeah, a really happy moment, but I have to focus for next week and I’m really excited to go back to ANA.”

At her young age and with such prodigious results to her name already, comparisons to Tiger Woods are bound to come in to play.

Ko’s 11th career win this week on the LPGA Tour came in her 71st start (including 16 amateur starts and two wins) and when she was 18 years old, 11 months and 3 days while Wood’s 11th career win on the PGA Tour came in his 67th start (including 17 amateur starts) but he was 5 years older at 23 years old, 5 months and 8 days.

Australia’s Minjee Lee finished the best of the Aussies at T20 with the help of her first ever hole-in-one…and albatross.

Lee used a 5-wood at the par-4 16th hole to hole out to write her name in the record books with only the second hole-in-one on a par-4 in LPGA history.

“I think I had 210 metres to the pin, and I hit my 5-wood, it was a little right-to-left down wind, so yeah, just hit it a little right and then it was going with the wind and went in the hole,” Lee said. “I didn’t see it go in.”

Sarah-Jane Smith finished T38 with Karrie Webb at T43.