Ko Victor at Swinging Skirts
At the start of the final round of the Swinging Skirts, Lydia Ko was something of an afterthought. Seventeen-year old Brooke Henderson was the story of the week and Morgan Pressel was her closest pursuer
But at day’s end it was Ko who was taking a victory lap after edging Pressel with a birdie on the second extra hole. Both finished regulation at 8-under par 280.
Ko, who turned 18 on Friday of tournament week, has now won seven times on the LPGA Tour including twice this year. She’s also won the Swinging Skirts twice in succession.
Pressel had a two shot lead with four holes left in regulation but was undone by a balky putter; she recorded back-to-back bogeys at 15 and 16 before missing 15-foot birdie try at 18 that would have given her her first victory since 2008. She wound up signing for an even-par 72.
Henderson, who had the lead at the start of the day, shot 74; she missed a 25-foot birdie try at the last that would have gotten her into the playoff while Ko, who finished ahead of the leaders after a 70, was staying loose by hitting practice putts.
Both players missed makeable birdie attempts at the first extra hole. When Pressel missed a 25-foot birdie attempt the second time around it opened the door for her challenger.
“I just tried to go with my game plan.” Ko said. “I knew that whoever was going to win in the playoff was going to make a birdie. You know, there is not that many places where you’re going to get a chance for a bogey or something.
“We’re both hitting the ball good so I knew that at the end somebody that going to make a good putt and come off with a birdie.”
Ko appears impassive when she’s inside the ropes but insists she feels the pressure of the moment,” she says. “I think everybody has nerves. Some people show it; some people don’t. But to me, even just playing a round of golf with club members gets me nervous.
“I know I’ve got the nerves. If some people think I don’t look like I am nervous, then it’s a good thing.”
“I had plenty of chances out there today,” Pressel said, “so I can’t be too disappointed. I gave it my all.
“Definitely was a little bit sloppier today in general. I did not have my so called A game, but got into the playoff. Hit one good putt and hit one not so good putt.
“But it happens. I would say my nothing was really sharp, but I definitely missed some putts that I could have made, even earlier in the day.
“But I gave myself a chance, and that’s what I came here to do.”