(Story courtesy Fred Woodcock via PGANZ)
A late collapse has seen Lydia Ko tumble down the US Open leaderboard but the young New Zealand golf star still did enough to achieve her goal of top amateur honours in her first major championship.
Ko looked set for a top-20 finish as she approached the 16th tee at three-under in her final round, having made the turn in three-under 33.
But she fell victim to the tough finishing stretch with a double bogey at the par-five 16th – her second seven at that hole – a bogey at the par-three 17th, and a triple bogey at the par-four 18th. That finish saw her match her third round back nine of 42, and dropped her from a share of 18th at six-over par to a tie for 39th at 12-over after scores of 74, 72, 79 and 75. Nevertheless, she still maintained her position atop the amateur leaderboard, finishing one stroke ahead of American Emma Talley, who closed with an even-par 72 to finish at 13-over.
Only three of the 28 amateurs in the field this week made the second round cut.
All in all it was a pretty good week for the 15-year-old, who is the top-ranked amateur in the world.
She made the cut was was the best of the amateurs, her two initial goals, and if you take away her last two efforts across the back nine, she was even-par for the championship on the testing Blackwolf Run course in Wisconsin.
The statistics show that she drove the ball well but often had trouble with her second shot.
A shorter hitter, she required long irons or rescue clubs to reach the green, and there were plenty of tricky pin positions, particularly across the final two rounds.
”I think I made a few silly mistakes out there but that just happens. The back nine was a struggle for me,” she said after the third round.
”There are definitely things I need to work on, nobody is playing to perfection at the moment and I am going to get a few things tweaked so I am ready when I turn pro.”
South Korea’s Na Yeon Choi scored a comfortable four-shot win over compatriot Amy Yang, the only two players to finish the championship under par.
Choi, who began the final day with a six-shot lead and turned in even-par 36, made a triple bogey at the par-five 10th to drop back to five-under but she held her nerve superbly to bounce back with three birdies, before a bogey at the last.
She closed with a 73 to finish at seven-under, with Yang second on three-under.
Thank you both the PGANZ and author of this story: Fred Woodcock – Lydia’s photo by Getty