The Golfer of the Year – an award Ballesteros won on three occasions in 1986, ‘88 and ‘91 – is voted for by the golf media. He beat off competition from Rose, Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton and Rookie of the Year Jon Rahm...
Lydia Ko wins the first Major of the year at ANA Inspiration
There was a suspicion that Lydia Ko didn’t produce her best in the Majors, now she has won the last two.
She is also the youngest two-time Major winner in LPGA history (at 18y 11m 9d) and, incredibly, the youngest male or female with two Major wins since Young Tom Morris in 1869 – Ko also captured the Kia Classic last week.
She did it with a wedge to the 72nd hole that left her a putt of less than two feet to record a 69 to finish one ahead of England’s Charley Hull and In Gee Chun. Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn looked the most likely winner over the back nine but bogeyed the last three to drop two shots back.
Ko began the Sunday one behind Lexi Thompson, who had a 73 to finish fifth, and took the lead with a monster putt at the 8th. She also made a number of par putts to keep the momentum going.
But Jutanugarn birdied 9, 10 and 11 to be two clear standing on the 16th tee from where she would make a bogey, a sign of things to come.
Hull, who birdied the last four holes on Saturday night, looked to have drifted out of contention after playing the first eight holes in two over but then picked up shots at 9, 10, 11 and 13 and added another at the last for a brilliant 69.
What Ko said: “I mean it (the approach to 18) would be up there. Every shot is special in its own way, like every win is special, because every tournament is so different. But just playing the 72nd hole, birdieing the last hole, that’s always a good feeling. Obviously for that shot to mean so much that I would win the event, that makes it extra special. But I obviously laid up to the right number and hit it to the exactly right spot. But I thought it was going to be a little short, but with the greens firming up, it ended up being perfect.
“Obviously making that putt on 11 and 13 was crucial, too, but just not knowing anything, I wanted to focus on my game and just what I could control, but on 17 I knew what I needed to do. Something like a miracle needed to happen, so I think 17 was probably the most crucial putt.
“I’ve never really played well at this course before, so just to know that, hey, I can still play well at a course that I haven’t really played well before I think gives me the confidence.