Sunday, November 19, 2017
Golf

Lydia Ko, 17, becomes youngest LPGA millionaire with win

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SYLVANIA, Ohio — Now that she's officially a millionaire, Lydia Ko joked she'll have to keep a closer watch on where her paychecks go.

"I'll probably see that going into my mom's account," she said, laughing, referring to the $210,000 she got for winning Sunday's Marathon Classic by one shot over So Yeon Ryu.

The 17-year-old broke free from a late tie with Ryu, hitting a wedge to 4 feet for birdie on the 72nd hole to take the lead. Then Ryu missed a 6-foot birdie putt on the final hole that would have forced a playoff.

Ko's 6-under 65 put her at 15-under 269. Ryu shot 67.

With her second LPGA Tour victory to go with the two Canadian Open titles she won as an amateur, Ko became the youngest player to top $1 million in career earnings on the tour. Ko is roughly 17 months younger than Lexi Thompson, previously the youngest.

Ko has shown impressive consistency in her rookie year on tour, making the cut in all 15 tournaments she's entered. She has six top-10 finishes in addition to her wins, with five of those being top-5s.

Ko started the final round in fifth place, three shots behind co-leaders Laura Diaz and Lee-Anne Pace.

While they foundered — Pace shot 71 to finish 11 under, Diaz 75 for 7 under — Ko crept up the leaderboard with birdies at holes 3 and 4. She tied for the top spot with a 12-foot birdie putt at the par-3 eighth, then took a solo lead for the first time after hitting her approach to 10 feet at the 10th.

Ko rolled in the downhill putt for a two-shot lead at 16, but Ryu birdied four of six holes late in her round and poured in a big-breaking 25-foot birdie putt on the 17th to pull even.

But then Ko stuck her approach at the par-5 closing hole and calmly rolled in the birdie putt.

Ryu hit a brilliant third shot to the green, but pushed her 6-footer at the 18th.

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