Rookie Ko Jin-young Wins Australian Open in LPGA Debut


At the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open, South Korean rookie Jin Young Ko won wire to wire, shooting 14 under to win by three strokes. Minjee Lee, Charley Hull, Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn, Emma Talley, So Yeon Ryu, Georgia Hall, another Rookie of the Year contender, and Lydia Ko all had top-20 finishes.

"It was a bit different today", said Ko, who becomes just the second player in LPGA Tour history to claim a title in their first start as a member. This Ko burst onto the worldwide stage at the 2015 Ricoh Women's British Open at Turnberry, when she gave champion Inbee Park a run while wearing a puffy fur-lined jacket.

"First time in goal was to make the cut and enjoy the game but I did win".

Ko began the tournament with a blistering seven-under 65 and was neither overtaken nor seriously threatened.

But this was how it went.

Then she rolled the putt down the hill and into the cup from five metres.

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The look on her face changed.

"No", she said. "Not yet". Her second-round two-over 74 had put her out of contention on Friday.

That's now two victories in two weeks for Australian caddie Dean Herden. "He's nervous", she said.

She made some mistakes along the way, but none too serious, and hit 15 of the 18 greens in regulation.

Green was outright third and had nothing to be ashamed of her first appearance in the final group at her national Open. That victory guaranteed her LPGA membership for the 2018 season.

"I've started off really well", the West Australian said.

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More importantly, she showed she could compete.

Ko hit three birdies and three bogeys across an inconsistent round of golf, in what appears a continuation of her 2017 woes. She shot 69 on the day to finish 10 under, but she was always chasing once she went par-par on the opening two par-fives to Ko's birdie-birdie. "It's great to be playing an Aussie Open and be contending".

Choi was at 277 with Green at 278 and Katherine Kirk at 279 after a blistering 65 in the final round.

But Ko made a crucial birdie at the ninth to steady her nerves, and she maintained her lead with a faultless inward half, picking up further shots at 13 and 17 as Choi managed only one further birdie at the 16th.

Yuri Yoshida of Japan was the leading amateur at even par.

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