Lydia Ko is the winner of the ISPS Handa New Zealand Women's Open and the first person to win the title for the second time in its seven-year history. Ko's 14-under total for the 54 holes of 202 was four shots better than the previous record which she shared jointly with Australian Lindsey Wright.
Ko started the final round leading by the three from England's Charley Hulll and birdies on the first two holes extended her lead to five. At that stage it seemed like a cakewalk for the leading lady of the links.
But when Ko double-bogeyed the eighth after hitting her approach into the water and bogeyed the ninth after over-hitting her tee shot on the par-3, Hull had closed to three at the turn and that became two when she eagled the par-5 10th and Ko birdied.
The turning point was the 12th. Ko birdied, Hull double-bogeyed after hitting into water over the green and that three-shot swing had Ko five ahead and marching to victory.
Hull, whose putter let her down on the front nine, unravelled completely after her eagle on 10. She was five-over for the last eight holes and finished seven shots behind Ko and tied for sixth along with Scotland's Pamela Pretswell.
Ko said adding the New Zealand Open to the Australian Open she won the previous week had given her a better start to the year than she had dared hope for.
"I tied second in my first week, tied seventh the week after then won my last two events. So this is even better than I would ever have imagined. It’s just great to have won the two Opens back to back.’’
For final leaderboard, visit: www.nzwomensopen.co.nz/
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