Teenager Ko birdies 18 to seal win at Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic 

click to enlarge Teenager Lydia Ko reacts after sinking a birdie putt on the 18th hole to win the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic. - ERIC RISBERG/AP
  • Eric Risberg/AP
  • Teenager Lydia Ko reacts after sinking a birdie putt on the 18th hole to win the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic.

DALY CITY -- After being grouped together all weekend, it was fitting the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic at the Lake Merced Golf Club came down to the final hole between Stacy Lewis and Lydia Ko.

With Lewis leading by a shot coming into the final round, the 17-year-old Ko withstood a bumpy performance on the front nine Sunday to rally and win with three birdies on the final six holes -- including a six-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to hold off Lewis.

Ko, who will move up to No. 2 in the world rankings, had two bogeys in the first seven holes, but was able to mount a charge late and shoot a final-round 3-under-par 69 to finish the tournament 12-under-par 276, one shot better than Lewis.

Back in 2012, Ko, of New Zealand, won the Canadian Open as a 15-year-old amateur, becoming the youngest winner in the history of the LPGA to win an event. She was paired with Lewis in that final round two years ago.

Ko, who earned $270,000 for her win Sunday, won the Canadian Open again last year and took the Swinging Skirts World Ladies Masters in Taiwan back in December in her second start as a professional. She now has six victories in pro events, including three on the LPGA Tour.

"I can't believe I could have a better birthday week," said Ko, who turned 17 on Thursday. "It's been a special week for me and I'm honored to win this tournament."

Lewis, who played stellar for most of the week, had a hiccup at the wrong time. Tied with Ko going into the back nine, Lewis bogeyed the 10th hole and 13th, which gave Ko a two-stroke lead with five holes to play.

Lewis missed an opportunity to tie Ko on the 17th hole as her birdie putt from eight-feet out fell inches short of the cup. Lewis needed Ko to at least par the 18th to force a sudden-death playoff, but that didn't come to fruition.

"Coming into the day I felt great. I hit a lot of good shots, good putts, and I knew I wasn't out of it," said Lewis, who earned $165,433 for her runner-up finish. "Every time Lydia needed to hit a shot, she did."

TOURNAMENT WRAPUP

Dewi Claire Schreefel produced one of the highlights Sunday when she used her 7-iron to hit a hole-in-one on the 157-yard 12th hole -- her first ever on the LPGA Tour. She won a $100,000 bonus from the China Trust Bank for doing so.

"When I was walking up 18 and I'm like, 'Oh my god, it's worth more than a car,'" Schreefel said. "So it's great, it's only the second one in my life."

Michelle Wie followed up her win last week in the Lotte Championship with a solid performance at Lake Merced, finishing 2-under for the tournament and tied for ninth.

The homecoming weekend for Paula Creamer didn't go as well as she would have liked, as she finished 5-over for the tournament and in a tie for 35th place.

Hall of Famer and Los Altos resident Juli Inkster finished 6-over for the week and in a tie for 41st place.

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Bonta Hill

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Wednesday, Dec 17, 2014

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