At Lake Merced Golf Club, Lydia Ko carded a final-round 71, and then beat Minjee Lee on the first playoff hole to capture the LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship.
The win ended a nearly two-year winless streak for the 21-year old New Zealander, and it happened in a place – Daly City – where she won back to back titles in 2014 and 2015 (at the former Swinging Skirts event).
Ko entered the day at 11 under and one up on the field, but after opening with three bogeys on her first seven holes, the former world No. 1 fell two shots back. Birdies on No. 13, 15 and 18 got Ko into a playoff with Lee, who also made three late gains (Nos. 15, 17 and 18) to reach 12 under.
In the playoff, the two finalists played the par-5 18th, where Ko nearly holed out her second shot for an albatross, leaving herself with a tap-in three-foot eagle for the win.
“It’s crazy, because I was 3-over for the day at one stage today and I said ‘Hey, you just got to focus and you never know what’s going to happen,’” said Ko after winning her 15th LPGA Tour title.
“I was able to put my game together on the back nine and when that putt dropped, oh my gosh.”
Chinese Shanshan Feng posted a final-day 4-under par 68 to finish T3 alongside Americans Angel Yin (67) and Jessica Korda (74), and England’s Charley Hull (70).
“I used to be a player, you know. Somebody called me like Sunday Queen,” said Feng.
“I used to shoot low scores on Sunday all the time, but suddenly I just lost that ability and I was actually shooting over par on the weekends I’m very happy that I’m back to normal game and everything’s been good.”
FINAL TOP 10
1. Lydia Ko -12
2. Minjee Lee -12
3. Angel Yin -8
3. Shanshan Feng -8
3. Charley Hull -8
3. Jessica Korda -8
7. Caroline Masson -7
7. Nasa Hataoka -7
7. Aditi Ashok -7
7. Ariya Jutanugarn -7
“I don’t think I’ve ever cried in the other 14 [wins] and I cried like four times in the span of two minutes, which is kind of embarrassing. Every time I’d see my sister, I’d cry. Every time I’d see my mom, I’d cry. And then Ted, my coach, is crying so then I cried again. Saw Johnny and cried. I’m like, God, get a hold of yourself.
“I think it was emotional because they’ve been through it with me. It’s not like you’re the only one out there. The whole team’s part of it and they put in as much hard work as I have.
I think that’s why it’s so meaningful. In golf you say it’s such an individual game, but without the team around you, you really can’t do it. So I think it’s pretty cool that my family are here and my friends are here and we can officially celebrate with alcohol, champagne, and remember to take my ID.”
– Lydia Ko