South Korean Jin Young Ko claimed her status as former world number one by proclaiming herself this Sunday the new champion of the Volunteers of America Classic tournament, of the LPGA Tour, just a week after leaving the world rankings reign.
Ko completed the fourth round of the Volunteers of America Classic with a record of 69 hits (-2) that gave him a cumulative 268 (-16) with an impact advantage over the Finnish Matilda Castren (269, -15).
While the Mexican Gaby López, who made a brilliant 65 strokes (-6) in the fourth round, finished in third place with a cumulative 270 (-14), which allowed him to win a cash prize of $ 99,541.
López was in the fight for the title until the end when he bogeyed the 18th hole, the only one he committed on the entire journey.
Ko, who finished with seven consecutive pairs, sank his shoulders as he putt from the last pair from just three feet on the final hole at Old American Golf Club., which allowed him to secure victory over Castren.
The South Korean star won for the first time this year, and the timing couldn’t have been better. She had held the number one spot for nearly two years until young American Nelly Korda supplanted her last week by winning the PGA Championship. of women from KPMG.
Ko failed to finish in the top 10 in four of his five previous LPGA Tour starts. But not far from her American home in Dallas, she regained her champion status.
The South Korean golfer achieved her eighth LPGA victory of her career and remains at number two of the world rankings.
“I thought I was under a lot of pressure with the No. 1 ranking,” Ko stated. “But I did it this week. I’m very happy.”
With a 1-shot lead, Ko opened with three birdies on four holes to extend it. Castren, who won his first LPGA Tour title three weeks ago in Lake Merced, kept her in his sights with a couple of birdies before turning around.
Castren was in danger of falling 3 shots back at par 5 13 when he was in trouble from the tee with six meters left to go, with Ko at about three meters and a half for a birdie chance. Castren made his pair putt, Ko missed and the lead stayed at one.
The roles were switched on the next hole when Ko missed his tee shot to the right and was unable to reach the green by five feet.
Castren had a wedge on the green, but failed to birdie and Ko saved par.
The tournament was decided on the 15th hole when Castren missed a par putt of less than a meter that crashed hard to the left, leaving 2 shots behind. She went up and down shortly before par 5 of 17 for birdie, and stayed in the game when Ko missed his birdie putt from less than five feet.
Castren had a twenty-foot birdie from the back of the 18th green that missed on the right.
Ko had a lot of support at Old American, with a large contingent of Koreans in the gallery. Ko is among several South Koreans who reside in the Dallas area.
The tournament winner and Korda will face off on big stages over the next month. The next big tournament is the Evian Championship, followed by the Tokyo Olympics and the Women’s British Open.