PALM SPRINGS – Lydia Ko is once again a major champion.
Sunday, the world No.1 carded a 3-under par, 69 to capture the ANA Inspiration, for her second major victory on the LPGA Tour and become the youngest two-time major champion at 18 years and 11 months.
Ko becomes the first player since Inbee Park in 2013 to win consecutive major championships, having also won the final major of 2015, the Evian Championship.
Ko also becomes just the 14thplayer to win the week before a major championship and go on to win a major the following week, with Ko having captured last week’s Kia Classic. She joins the likes of Annika Sorenstam and Lorena Ochoa as the only other two players to have won the week before the ANA Inspiration and went on to win the major as well.
Ko started the day one-back of leader Lexi Thompson, who was quickly overtaken by Ariya Jutanugarn who jumped out to the lead with five birdies and one bogey in her first 10 holes.
But Jutanugarn stumbled coming in, making bogey at the par 4, 16th hole, opening the door for Ko who was just one hole ahead. On 17, Ko was able to get up and down from the rough for a critical par save at the par 3, 17th hole to remain just one back of Jutanugarn. The world No.1 opted to lay up to the par 5, 18th then knocked her approach to a foot for birdie and the outright lead at 12-under par.
Jutanugarn bogeyed her final two holes as well, finishing at 10-under par, two-back of Ko.
Charley Hull and In Gee Chun finished T-2 at 11-under par. 54-hole leader Lexi Thompson struggled with her putter on day four, making three bogeys on her outward nine to fall out of the lead. She closed with the same flare with which she took the lead on Saturday, with a bogey on the 72nd hole to finish 5th at 9-under par.