Kiwi Lydia Ko finishes 21st despite putter woes
Lydia Ko has pocketed close to $20,000 despite, by her standards, a middling debut as a golf professional.
Ko recorded a solid but unspectacular finish to the $US2 million CME Group Titleholders championship on the LPGA Tour, finishing in a tie for 21st in the elite, 69-strong field at the tour's season-ending tournament.
The Kiwi teen sensation couldn't light up her putter all week but still walked away with $US16,063 ($19,613) for a tidy week's work, her first paycheque having been forced to forfeit close to $2 million in prizemoney during her successul amateur career.
Ko closed with a two-under par 70 at Naples, Florida today, a round that could have been so much better had she not double-bogeyed the par-three 16th then missed a short birdie putt on the 18th.
Her four-round total of four-under 284 (71, 71, 72 and 70) was 11 shots behind the winner, China's Shanshan Feng, who closed with a six-under 66 to win by a shot from American Gerina Piller.
Ko's play off the tee was near immaculate - she hit 52 of 56 fairways for the week - and her iron was wasn't bad, but the world No 5 struggled with her putting rhythm and had a total of 125 putts across the four rounds, far too many to contend at this level.
"I have learned a lot of things this week and I am pretty happy that my first week is gone, it is not a week that comes again, but it is the start of a whole new career,'' she said.
''My goal for the week was to not make any doubles and I made three. I didn't have a really good front nine apart from today so that didn't make a good start to the day but I finished strong on the back nine score-wise.''
Ko will remain in Florida this week and then head to Taiwan to play in The Swinging Skirts World Ladies Masters golf tournament which will be held at the Linkou Miramar Golf Country Club in New Taipei City from December 5-8.
She will begin her 2014 campaign at the Bahamas Classic from January 23-26 - where there is a mandatory rookie's session - before she returns home to defend her title at the NZ Women's Open in Christchurch from January 31-February 2.