Lydia Ko second in final major of the year
She didn't win the title and she doesn't get to take home the NZ$365,769 runners-up cheque, but Lydia Ko is still a very happy young lady.
Ko, 16, finished second in the final golfing major of the year, the Evian Championship in France this morning (NZ time), two shots behind Norway's Suzann Pettersen.
Ko shot a final round one-under 70 to finish the rain-reduced, 54-hole tournament at -8. Pettersen, the world No 3, shot a final round three-under 68 to secure her second major title.
Ko, whose world No 8 ranking is set to improve after this performance, has now played seven majors and tied for 17th - twice - was her best result before.
That in itself, and featuring in the final round of a major, was reason enough to make the North Harbour schoolgirl to smile and to think of this tournament, her 14th of the year, as a success.
"It was really good to know that I could come so close to the winner at a major," she said.
"Second is my best finish at a major tournament."
Ko made three birdies in her final round, including on the difficult par-four first, but she struggled to get the ball as close as she did during yesterday's 67 and the hot putter that helped her win last month's Canadian Open, was only warm.
"I mis-read some putts," she said.
"Some were challenging putts where I thought it was right to left and it was the other way. I had a couple putts like that. Obviously not everything is going to be right where I see it.
"[But] I was pretty happy with my round today. Yesterday I gave myself a lot of the chances to make birdies, so I hit it much closer to the pins. I probably did half of that today."
Ko played in the leading group with Pettersen and overnight leader Mika Miyazato and while Miyazato went backwards in a big way with an eight-over 79, Ko hunted Pettersen and showed no nerves.
After starting birdie, bogey, birdie, Ko made nine straight pars, unable to make ground on the Norwegian.
She bogeyed the 13th to be two behind and, like Pettersen, made a birdie-four on the 15th, but could not close the two shot buffer on the final holes.
"I knew it was a very tight leaderboard coming into today. Everybody was playing great," she said.
"I tried to play my own game, set my own goals. If somebody else played better, like Suzann did today, I can't do anything about it.
"I don't think I felt that nervous today, especially coming down the last couple holes. I personally thought that Suzann had it in the bag today. She was playing very solid. If I stuck it close, she stuck it close. It was that kind of thing today."
This was Ko's 14th professional tournament of the year and is likely to be her last.
She has qualified for the season ending Titleholders Championship in Canada, but that tournament is the week after her school exams and Ko said she was unlikely to play in it due to a lack of practice time.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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