Lydia Ko edges closer to Hall of Fame status, Viktor Hovland makes in three wins in five and Luke List secures maiden PGA Tour title
It’s hard to believe that Lydia Ko is only 24-years-old, she has been a household name for so long. Even though she didn’t become an LPGA Tour Member until 2014, Lydia Ko was winning events on Tour as early as 2012. On Sunday in the Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio, Ko became the first player to reach 17 wins before the age of 25 since Nancy Lopez captured her 17th title in 1979.
Ko completed a wire-to-wire victory with a final round, three-under-par 69 to finish one shot clear of last week’s winner Danielle Kang on -14.
New Zealander Ko, was winless for nearly three years until she won the LOTTE Championship in Hawaii last April. The win came two weeks after she contended for the first major of the season at the ANA Inspiration.
Talking about her dip in form on Sunday, Ko said:
"A few years ago, Stacy Lewis said to me, you can't try and be like your past. You're trying to be the best player, best person you can be now. I think hearing that advice from somebody like her, really helped me to have the confidence and to just believe in the process of sometimes you're going to take two steps back, but you just keep working and working at just trying to be the best. I'm just trying to be the best version I can be today."
LPGA Hall of Fame in sight for Lydia Ko
The victory puts Ko into a tie for 32nd on the LPGA Tour Career Wins List to join Dottie Pepper, Ayako Okamoto and Beverly Hanson. And the $300,000 winner’s cheque moves her into ninth on the LPGA Tour All-Time Career Earnings List with $12,668,796, passing World Golf Hall of Fame and LPGA Hall of Fame member Se Ri Pak.
Along with the Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio title comes one point for the LPGA Hall of Fame. Ko now has 21 of the 27 points needed to gain entry into the prestigious sorority. Talking about the potential Hall of Fame entry, she said:
“I'm playing alongside the best female golfers and some of the best athletes in the world. To kind of keep putting yourself in contention and in positions like that, I don't think it's easy. I just have to keep playing my golf, focus on my goals, and if I have the opportunity to be in the Hall of Fame, that would be really cool.”
Kang finished runner-up, a week after winning the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions. Yuka Saso captured outright third, two shots back of Ko, while Charley Hull and Celine Boutier shared fourth at -11. Nelly Korda shot 2-under 76 to conclude the week in a tie for 20th at -2. With her finish, Korda is now expected to lose the number one spot in the Rolex Rankings to Jin Young Ko, who is projected to assume the spot for the fourth time of her career despite not competing in Boca Rio.
This week it's the inaugural LPGA Drive On Championship at Crown Colony Golf & Country Club, Fort Myers, Florida.
Three wins in five starts for Hovland
Viktor Hovland defeated Richard Bland in a play-off to snatch an incredible victory at the Slync.io Dubai Desert Classic. Hovland came from six shots back at the start of the day, shooting a 66, playing the last three holes in four-under-par to set the clubhouse lead at 12-under-par.
Hovland overcame a six-stroke deficit on a thrilling final day at Emirates Golf Club, playing his last three holes in four-under-par to close a round-of-the-day 66 to set the clubhouse target at 12 under.
England's Bland birdied his final two holes to close with a 68 and joined the Norwegian at the top of the leaderboard. It looked like Rory McIlroy would make it a three-way play-off until he struggled on the final two holes, finding water on the 18th and making a bogey.
Hovland and Bland took to the 18th for the play-off and it with a birdie Hovland claimed his second European Tour victory, his first Rolex Series win and made it three wins in five starts! With just 10 weeks to go until The Masters - are we looking at our next men's Major champion?
The DP World tour now moves to the Ras al Khaimah Championship presented by Phoenix Capital.
Maiden victory for List
Luke list secured his first PGA Tour win after birdieing the first extra-play off hole against Will Zalatoris at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torey Pines.
List fired a final round 66 on the South Course to join Zalatoris on 15-under-par. Zalatoris had had an opportunity to win the tournament but missed an eight-foot birdie opportunity on the final hole.
The 37-year-old talked about how he had finally brought his game together, he said:
"I've worked really hard on my putting, and that's kind of what's held me back over the years. I rolled it beautifully on the front nine and made a lot of quality strokes even on the back. So that's a part of my game I'm continuing to work on, and I know it's going to keep getting better."
With the win List has gained an invite to The Masters.
The next PGA Tour event is the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
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