22 Feb 2015

Ko wins Australian Open

9:38 pm on 22 February 2015

World golf number one Lydia Ko has become the youngest-ever winner of the Australian Open with a two-shot victory at Royal Melbourne.

Lydia Ko at the Australian Golf Open.

Lydia Ko at the Australian Golf Open. Photo: Photosport

The 17-year-old Aucklander carded a two-under par 71 final round for a nine-under total, winning from South Korea's Amy Yang, who shot a 72 and finished seven-under.

Ko began the final round tied for the lead on seven under par, alongside fellow teenager Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand.

Both players bogeyed the first hole then the Thai fell right away as Ko eagled the third.

Jutanugarn's final round did not improve and she finished on three over for the day and outright third, five strokes behind Ko.

But Yang came from behind to share the lead around the halfway mark, Ko blowing a two-shot advantage after seven holes as Yang birdied the ninth to draw level.

Play was then halted due to threatening weather, but Ko didn't falter after the players returned to the course, carding a par on the ninth and matching Yang's two birdies on the next five holes.

The 15th hole proved a turning point as the Korean missed a par putt, then again at the 17th, while Ko remained flawless on her back nine to claim her first LPGA Tour victory of the year.

Less than three weeks ago, Ko became the youngest golfer to hold top spot in the world rankings when she tied for second place at the LPGA's season-opening event in Florida.

Tiger Woods had previously held the record when he reached number one in 1997 at 21, while Shin Ji-yai held the women's record after reaching top spot in 2010 aged 22.

The $1.2 million Australian Open is co-sanctioned by the US LPGA Tour and boasted a very strong field, including six of the world's top 12.

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