Lydia Ko Wins Marathon in Playoff
Lydia Ko entered the 2016 Marathon Classic having won three times this season and 13 times in her brief LPGA career. The number one player in the world was looking to take this event for the second time in three years. She entered the final round tied with Alison Lee, two shots behind Hyo Jin Kim. As it turned out, the Marathon Classic lived up to it’s name before the tournament was decided.
Also in the mix at the start of the day was Ariya Jutanugarn and Stacy Lewis, both four shot back. The round of the day belonged to Mirim Lee, who started the day seven shots back. Not much happened over the first six holes, but Lee made her move with an eagle on seven and birdie on eight. Following four straight pars, Lee four of the next five holes. A bogey on 18 proved costly, as a par would have won the championship. All told, a round of 65 and a 14-under par total.
Ariya Jutanugarn got off to good start with birdies on two and three, but made no headway the next 13 holes, with two bogeys and a birdie. An eagle on the par-5 seventeenth and par on 18 bolted her into a tie at the top at 14-under.
Lydio Ko, who cruised to a win at the NW Arkansas Championship three weeks ago, was steady much of the day. She birdied four of the first nine holes without a blemish on the scorecard. She bolted into the lead and remained consistent with pars on 10 through 13. The wheels came off a bit with two bogeys over the next three holes. Failing to birdie either of the last two holes, both par 5’s, Ko settled for a 69 and tie at the top with Jutanugarn and Lee.
The sudden death playoff began on the 18th with Ko, Jutanugarn and Lee. All three players parred. Going back to the 18th, all three players parred again. Giving the fans surrounding the 18th green even more action, all three players looked for a birdie, yet putts failed to fall. Playing the hole for the fourth time, Jutanugarn had a putt from off the green for birdie, but missed on the high side. The scene was set for Ko, who drained a short birdie putt for the win.
Hyo Jin Kim shot a 73 and finished fourth, two shots ahead of Stacy Lewis. Alison Lee also shot a 73 and finished in a tie for 6th.
Lydia Ko has finished in the top five in each of her last five events and has two wins in that span. The 19-year old already has 14 LPGA wins, including two majors.
The LPGA head to Chicago for the UL International Crown, as a warm-up for the Women’s British Open July 28 through 31.