18-year-old Lydia Ko becomes golf's youngest major winner

Phil Casey 06:00 14/09/2015
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Outstanding: Ko.

Lydia Ko, earmarked by the golfing world for greatness from the moment she won a LPGA Tour event aged 15, shot a stunning eight-under-par 63 to become the youngest ever winner of a major at the Evian Championship.

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The New Zealander – at the age of 18 years, four months and 20 days – picked up eight birdies in a flawless final round in France to win by six shots on 16-under par.

American Lexi Thompson was second on 10 under after signing for a 70, with China’s Shanshan Feng third on eight-under.

Overnight leader Lee Mi-hyang finished in a tie for fourth, with fellow South Korean Lee Il-hee, after a three-over-par 74.

American Morgan Pressel, the previous youngest major winner, had been joint third at the start of play but saw her chances end as she made six bogeys in a round of 75, finishing four-under.

World No1 Inbee Park ended 11 shots behind Ko on five-under. Ko, the world No2, made a steady start to her final round with a birdie at the third and then started to gather momentum after picking up further shots at the seventh and ninth. Five more birdies came on the back nine as she powered to victory.

Reflecting on her record-breaking achievement, Ko said: “It’s pretty amazing. This has been an awesome day and an unbelievable experience. Everyone has been asking me when I was going to win my first major, and now it’s done. It’s so hard to get your hands on the first one.

“It’s probably the best round ever. To finish with two birdies and finish on the last, the 72nd, with a birdie – that doesn’t happen often. It is definitely one of the top rounds of my whole life and I am sure it will be from my career.”

Thompson had made the early running with four birdies in her first seven holes to reach 13-under, but she could not keep pace after the turn and a double bogey at the 14th ended her hopes.

“I played well enough in my first nine. I struggled on the back,” Thompson said about her final round. “I kind of lost my tee ball and didn’t hit good iron shots, and it’s kind of hard to beat somebody that shoots 63.”

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