South Korean star Ko Jin-young yesterday regained the world’s No. 1 spot, capturing her fourth LPGA title of the season at the BMW Ladies Championship in South Korea.
The tournament in the port city of Busan was the third Asian event in the US LPGA season this year, after stops in Singapore and Thailand in the spring.
Ko clinched the win to cash the winner’s check of US$300,000 in a sudden-death playoff, beating South Korea’s Lim Hee-jeong, who had been leading the tournament.
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It marked the fourth time that the 26-year-old had come from behind in the final round to win in her LPGA Tour career.
“It was my first playoff in my professional career, so my heart was fluttering,” Ko said in a televised interview after her win.
“I feel a little sorry for Hee-jeong, but I think I ended up being lucky,” she added.
Ko shot a bogey-free 64 to finish regulation with a 22-under-par 266, stretching the tournament into a playoff.
In the sudden-death playoff that began at the 18th hole, she came through with a hybrid shot and sank a short birdie putt to clinch the win.
“I knew Hee-jeong is a solid player and I thought I could secure second place if I played my best — so I was fairly relaxed,” Ko said.
“I did my best, but I do think it is an amazing win,” Ko said.
Lim, who did not have a bogey over 73 holes for four days, failed to come up with the final win.
With the victory, Ko reclaimed the top ranking from the US’ Nelly Korda, who did not play in Busan.
Ko first rose to world No. 1 in 2019 and held the ranking for the entire season last year — a streak of 100 consecutive weeks — but handed over the top spot to Korda in June.
Taiwan’s Min Lee shot a 71 to finish regulation with an even-par 288. She completed the fourth round in a nine-way tie for 61st place.
Additional reporting by staff writer
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