On a day when 18-year-old Kyu Jung Baek and 21-year-old Phoebe Yao won on the KLPGA and JLPGA, respectively, Lydia Ko prevailed at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic over Stacy Lewis and Jenny Shin.
Ko's 3rd career victory on the LPGA was tense and dramatic, as she and Lewis stalled for much of the day. After a slow start of her own, Shin made 4 birdies over her final 11 holes of bogey-free golf to take a run at her playing partners. In fact, the threesome came to the final hole, a tough par 5, with Ko holding a slim 1-stroke lead over Lewis and Shin. Lewis had parred the entire front 9, but then stumbled at the start of the back with bogeys on the 10th and 13th to fall to -8, but she came right back with birdies on 14 and 16 to return to -10. Ko had birdied 3 of her last 4 holes on the front, but offset that run with bogeys on 4, 7, and 10, so she, too, needed to turn on the afterburners down the stretch. And she responded with birdies on 13 and 14 to become the 1st player in the field to get to -11. When Shin parred 18 and Ko matched Lewis's birdie, the laurels went to the 17-year-old LPGA rookie.
A little further down the leaderboard, Inbee Park, Cristie Kerr, and Caroline Masson matched Shin's 68 for low rounds of the day, while Line Vedel, Mina Harigae, Mi Hyang Lee, and Lizette Salas matched Ko's 69. I was glad to see Ai Miyazato and Tiffany Joh put together 70s during an otherwise tough week. It was also good to see Brittany Lang and In-Kyung Kim putting together good weeks. Michelle Wie, Hyo Joo Kim, and Shanshan Feng continue to play very good golf. It was a career week for P.K. Kongkraphan. And Mika Miyazato and Harukyo Nomura tied for low Japanese golfers at T21, so it wasn't a bad week for them.
But the day belonged to Lydia Ko. As expected, she's had some trouble adjusting to a week in, week out LPGA schedule. But she won the LPGA's version of the Swinging Skirts in an even more impressive fashion than she won Taiwan's version last December, where she chased down So Yeon Ryu. If she keeps putting like she did this week the rest of the year, the rest of the world had better watch out!