Date: April 04, 2016
Author: Mark Hayes

Ko holds nerve, bags another major

Lydia Ko has won her second major championship, saluting in dramatic fashion on the final hole of the ANA Inspiration in California.

The New Zealander trailed Ariya Jutanugarn for most of the day, but made some gritty par saves on the back nine at Rancho Mirage to stay within touch.

Then on the last hole, the world No.1 laid back on the reachable par-5 before nailing a spectacular wedge inside 50cm to take the lead for the first time with the subsequent birdie putt to reach -12 with a blemish-free final-round 69.

The young Thai ace, who’d appeared so assured through the middle of the round with four birdies in five holes around the turn, had been two strokes clear with three holes to play.

But bogeys on 16 and 17 surrendered Jutanugarn’s advantage and then another on the last forced her down to fourth place with a 71, two behind Ko and one behind Charley Hull (69) and In Gee Chun (70).

Overnight leader Lexi Thompson made a spectacular eagle up the final hole, but remarkably it was the American’s only time bettering par all day en route to a 73 and outright fifth at -9.

The Australian weekend charge didn’t really eventuate with Minjee Lee carding four birdies, but throwing in three bogeys in her 71 that left her T26 at -4.

Karrie Webb had her third consecutive 73 to close at three over, in a tie for 56th.

The win is Ko’s second consecutive major triumph after she broke through at the Evian Championship late last year.

She now has five top-three finishes in the past 12 major championships, dating back to her last as an amateur in 2013.