Lydia Ko off the mark with LPGA Tour Kia Classic win
Even a double hit with her putter couldn’t stop the World No. 1 from notching her first victory of the year.
The New Zealander led by four at the start of the day and four birdies on the front nine maintained the momentum.
But she then called a penalty on herself at the 10th and Inbee Park, the No. 2 in the world, closed the gap to one with a birdie on 17. But Ko replied with birdies at 16, 17 and 18 for a four-shot win.
She now has 11 victories including her two wins as an amateur.
Next month she will turn 19. The first Major of the year, the ANA Inspiration, takes place this week.
What Ko said: “I started off really well and I gave myself good opportunities on 1, 2, 3, 4. I was able to make birdies on 1 and 2 and then I just kind of peeked at the leaderboard and saw Inbee was making a lot of birdies.
“Inbee doing her Inbee things; I knew that I needed to focus up until the last moment and fortunately I made some birdies down the stretch which really helped.
“I’ve been playing consistently well so I’m really happy with that and it’s just good to see the hard work we’ve put in the off-season. All the work we’ve put in as a team kind of paid off.”