Jin Young Ko rallies to win LPGA Tour’s Founders Cup

Monday, March 25, 2019

PHOENIX (AP) — Jin Young Ko channeled her inner Dustin Johnson to win for the first time in the United States.

After an even-par 72 left her five strokes back heading into the weekend at the Founders Cup, Ko talked to fellow South Korean player Jennifer Song about the topranked PGA Tour star.

“She told me Dustin hit so bad and he didn’t get angry — put clubs in the bag and just walk,” Ko said. “So, I tried like Dustin yesterday and today. I just tried no angry, no happy, just focus. “

It worked.

The 23-year-old Ko closed with bogey-free rounds of 64 and 65 at Desert Ridge to rally for a one-stroke victory Sunday. She birdied Nos. 14-16 and parred the final two to finish at 22-under 266, then won when third-round leader Yu Liu missed a 15-foot par putt on the par-4 18th.

Liu shot a 70 to tie for second with playing partner Carlota Ciganda and sisters Jessica and Nelly Korda. Ciganda closed with a 69, Jessica Korda eagled the two backnine par 5s in a 64, and Nelly Korda shot 66.

Choosing to putt with the flagstick in the hole under golf’s new rules, Ko made a 4-footer on the par-3 14th, two-putted for birdie on the par-5 15th and made it three in a row from 3½ feet on the par-4 16th.

“Lots of players thinks if there is a pin in the ball might hit the pin and come out,” Ko said. “I think it’s great to put the pin in because of it makes it easier for me to putt because it is a small target.”

A 10-time winner on Korean tour, Ko won the 2017 LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship in South Korea to earn her LPGA Tour card and took the Women’s Australian Open last year.