Ko splits with caddy after major disappointment
BEN STANLEY IN PALM SPRINGS, CALIFORNIA
Lydia Ko is looking for a new caddie - her third of the LPGA Tour season.
Fairfax Media understands the world No 4, who finished in a tie for 29th at the Kraft Nabisco Championship near Palm Springs, California yesterday, has decided to split with Mark Wallington.
Wallington, a former English rugby league fullback who once nearly lost a leg after a horror injury in 2005, has held the Kiwi teenager's bags in just the past three tournaments, including the first LPGA major of the year this week.
Wallington replaced Scott Lubin as Ko's caddie three weeks ago. Lubin caddied for the legendary Jack Nicklaus on the Champions Tour for seven years.
Ko will now be looking for a new person to hold her bags at the next LPGA tournament this season; the LPGA Lotte Championship in Hawaii, which starts on April 17.
The 16-year-old carded a two-over 74 in her final round at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, ending two-over for the major.
Ko, who will become the youngest major winner in golf history if she is able to snare one this year, finished 16 shots behind eventual winner American Lexi Thompson, who finished 14-under overall.
In terms of the final digits on her scorecard, Ko's round yesterday was her worst of the tournament.
She shot 73, 70, 73 and 74 in her four rounds at the Mission Hills Country Club.
The Kiwi was affected by the desert winds which swept across the course yesterday, especially during her opening nine holes.
She was only able to hit eight greens in regulation, limiting her birdie opportunities.
With only 28 putts made yesterday - her fewest during a round at the Kraft Nabisco - and continuing finesse with the pitching wedge, Ko described her short game as the biggest positive to draw from the tournament.
However, she admitted she "could have done better" overall.
"My short game has really improved," Ko said.
"Around the greens, I didn't expect to get up and down every single time - but I saved a lot more pars than I normally would.
"[Overall], I think I could have done much better, but there are a lot of things I can take out of it.
"There are a lot more majors this year, and I'm excited for the other ones."
Ko, who made bogeys on the 3rd, 14th and 15th, made a birdie on the 18th yesterday. She was happy with her final hole, but lamented the lack of birdies in her final two rounds.
"I was lucky I did make that," she said. "I wasn't going to walk off the golf course without making a birdie.
"Only two birdies in the [last] 36 holes - that is a bit painful. I made a really good finish in the end."
Ko's next tournament will be LPGA Lotte Championship in Kapolei, Hawaii, which starts on April 17.
The Kiwi said she was looking forward to resting before that event.
"I played a lot of good golf out here this week," she said.
"There are always some little things that you have to work on, but I've just got to be confident."
Thompson's victory at the Kraft Nabisco was her first in a major. The American 19-year-old oozed class on the final day, draining four birdies to ease to the title.
Michelle Wie, who sat in a tie for the lead starting the final day, carded a one-under 71 to claim second, three shots back.
- Fairfax Media
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