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Jin Young Ko leads all the way to win Australian Open in Adelaide


South Korean Jin Young Ko has held her nerve to lead from start to finish and win the ISPS Handa Australian Women’s Open at Kooyonga Golf Club in Adelaide.

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Playing in her first tournament as an LPGA member, Ko shot a 3-under 69 to post a four-round total of -14 and win by three shots in the South Australian capital from compatriot Hyejin Choi.

Australian LPGA rookie Hannah Green was third on -10 from fellow Aussie Katherine Kirk who shot the round of the day to finish on 9-under on the difficult Koyonga course.

The win earns Ko US$195,000 and means she will now play in next week’s Honda LPGA Thailand tournament at Chonburi.

Ko, 22, started her round with two birdies and was never headed despite Choi closing to within one stroke midway through the round.

She said she was quite nervous during the round but knew the victory was hers when she holed a birdie putt on 17.

Earlier in the week, Ko flagged she wanted to drink some South Australian wine after the tournament and she said today she would tonight open the bottle of Penfolds Grange she was given at the presentation ceremony.

Ko said the win was particularly significant for her as it came on Korean New Year’s Day.

“I will meet Angel Yin and I think we will party tonight on the beach,” she said.

As well as being a world-class wine-producing state, South Australia has also positioned itself as a hub for elite women’s sport and hosts annual international cycling event the Women’s Tour Down Under.

Jin Young Ko with the Patricia Bridges Bowl awarded to the Australian Women’s Open champion. Picture courtesy of Golf Australia.

It is the third year in a row the ISPS Handa Australian Women’s Open has been held in Adelaide following successful events Royal Adelaide and The Grange.

It was announced this week that the South Australian capital will continue to host the event until at least 2021.

The players praised the quality of the Kooyonga course with former World No.1 Ariya Jutanagarn, who finished tied for seventh, saying it was among the tougherst on the LPGA tour.

Green, 21, played in the final pairing with Ko and said it was great to be contending in her national open particularly in her rookie LPGA year.

“I was proud of myself with how I handled myself … all around, it’s been a good week,” Green, pictured below said.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better start.

“My goal was to get into every major, and I know that’s quite hard, being a rookie this year, so hopefully I’ve made enough money and keep making money to make sure that I’m definitely in.”

Marina Alex was the highest placed American, finishing in a tie for fifth on 7-under with Aussie No.1 Minjee Lee.

South Australia’s Stephanie Na was in a tie for 19th with New Zealand’s Lydia Ko.

Na started her round brilliantly with a hole in one on the Par 3 third hole, hitting the ace with a six-iron from 153 metres.

However, unlike Sweden’s Jenny Haglund, who won a Genesis car for her ace on the 14th on Saturday, there was no prize for Na.

“I was just pumped to hit the green because it is not an easy green to hit. There was no car but one on the scorecard is always nice to write.”

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