Ko sinks 6-footer to win

Lydia Ko of New Zealand holed a six-foot birdie putt on the final hole to claim her third LPGA Tour victory, and first in the United States, by one shot over Stacy Lewis in the inaugural Swing Skirts LPGA Classic at Lake Merced Golf Club in Daly City, just outside San Francisco.

Ko, who closed with a 3-under-par 69, was leading by one on the par-5 18th hole when Lewis hit her approach to within four feet of the hole to set up her own closing birdie. However, the 17-year-old Ko answered with a brilliant shot out of the rough and then holed the winning putt.

By winning, Ko moved to No. 2 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings behind Inbee Park of South Korea.

“I heard the claps and knew she hit it close (on No.18) and that I also needed to give myself a birdie opportunity,” said Ko, who captured the CN Women’s Canadian Open the last two years when she was still an amateur.

“It was just intense all the way through. I made a couple of bogeys on the front nine, but was able to bounce back with some birdies on the back to get a two-stroke lead and then I just held on.”

Lewis, who has two major titles among her eight LPGA Tour victories, bounced back from her only bogeys on the 10th and 13th holes with birdies on three of the last five holes to close with a 71, but it was not quite enough.

Said Lewis, who entered the final round with a one-stroke lead: “Whatever I did, she answered.”

Jenny Shin of South Korea, who lives in Buena Park, posted her second straight 68 playing in the final group with Ko and Lewis to finish solo third, two shots back.

Top-ranked Park closed with a 68 to tie for fourth, six strokes back, with Line Vedel of Denmark, who had a 69, and Shanshan Feng of China, who came in at 70.

Michelle Wie, of nearby Stanford, finished with a 71 coming off her victory a week earlier in Hawaii and wound up in a tie for ninth that included Cristie Kerr, who closed with a 71.

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