Lydia Ko celebrated her birthday week in style by defending her Swinging Skirts title with a playoff victory over Morgan Pressel.

The 18-year old had to wait until Pressel had finished her round to find out whether her title defense would go the distance.


Pressel missed her opportunity at the 18th to take the outright win, the tournament had to be decided via a playoff with both players inseparable at eight-under.

“It’s always a close one whenever I play this event,” Ko said. “Last year was the first time that every little shot counts.”

“I said, ‘If I want to put some pressure, I need to make a birdie or better on 18,”‘ Ko said. “Ended up being good for that. 

“But yeah, this tournament always makes my heart clench. I got so nervous. It’s a good thing they’re going in the hole.”

“I just couldn’t convert the putts,” Pressel said. “It all comes down to putting. She birdied it twice and I didn’t.”

This was Ko’s seventh win on the LPGA Tour.  After only just turning 18 on Friday, she’s now already firmly established as the Number One player in women’s golf.

“At the start of the day, I didn’t know how it was going to go,” Ko said. “It’s been a great birthday week again.”

“At her age, she plays with so much poise and calmness I don’t think you see from other kids her age,” Pressel said, pausing before she added with a smile, “I guess she’s not a kid anymore.”

Ko has now moved to the top of the LPGA Tour money list with her second tour victory and third worldwide title this year. 

She has never had the lead until making her winning putt on the 20th hole of the day.

The Birthday girl was almost upstaged by fellow teenager Canadian Brooke Henderson, who fired a tournament record seven-under 65 and held a two-shot lead at the halfway stage of the tournament.

The 17-year-old Henderson, still needs sponsor exemptions to enter tournaments, cashed in six birdies and an eagle to vault to the top of the leaderboard at nine-under at the halfway stage.

Henderson missed a birdie putt on the final hole and finished at 7-under, one shot behind Ko and Pressel.


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