Apr 4th, 2016
Lydia Ko wins ANA Inspiration
Charley Hull Just Misses Out
Words: Daniel Owen Photography: Getty Images
Charley Hull came just one shot shy at the the ANA Inspiration as Lydia Ko took her second major. At 18 years, 11 months, and 9 days Ko is the youngest LPGA player to have won two majors, and the youngest player of either sex since Young Tom Morris in 1869. Historic.
It could have been so different though. The big hitting Thai Ariya Jutanugarn had made three consecutive birdies to take a two shot lead with three to play. Bogies at 16 and 17 dropped her to 11 under. Charley Hull was five under for her last ten holes, and had the club house lead at 11 under. Neck and neck playing the last, Jutanugarn scrambled to another bogey, while Ko pitched to 16 inches with her third, to set up the birdie that would win her the event. Asked if it was her best shot ever, Ko had this to say.
“I mean it would be up there. Every shot is special in its own way, like every win is special, because every tournament is so different. But just playing the 72nd hole, birdieing the last hole, that’s always a good feeling. Obviously for that shot to mean so much that I would win the event, that makes it extra special. But I obviously laid up to the right number and hit it to the exactly right spot. But I thought it was going to be a little short, but with the greens firming up, it ended up being perfect.”
Ariya Jutanugarn seemed pretty chilled out about losing. Poor tee shots on the last three holes cost her the title. “Actually it’s pretty good, just only the last three holes, I really get nervous, especially being my first time leading. Next time it’s going to be so much fun to be there, but I got a lot of experience from this week.”
Someone else who got a lot of experience was Charley Hull. Her best finish on the LPGA and her best finish in a major, Hull look every bit the player we all expect her to go on and be. We’re not sure how much longer she will be playing Europe, now that she's proven she can hang with the best in the world.
“I’m happy because I played some great golf on that back nine. It kind of started from the ninth hole where I made birdie there. I’m happy. I feel like I can - I know I can play well under pressure now when I have to get it going, I think, so it kind of helps me with that, making birdies in when you’re down, and that’s what I kind of did out there today. I’m happy I holed that putt on the last, and I’m proud of myself. It feels great. Lydia hit a great shot into the last, and she should be proud of herself.”
“I feel like I’ve been playing great all season, like I put a lot of good work in over Christmas and over New Year, so I feel confident in my game. I feel like I’m in a good place outside of golf, as well. Like with my friends, I feel like that helps me relax on the golf course, also.”
Someone who didn’t have a good final day was our favourite American, Lexi Thompson. Lexi could not get it going all day, and her fifth place only came after eagling the last, having dropped all the way back to seven under.
"Yeah, I struggled ball-striking, and the bad ball-striking didn't give me many birdie chances, so I struggled a bit with the putter, as well. Ended well with another eagle on 18, so made a good jump.” That eagle earned her around $60,000 over a par, so definitely worth her while making.
As bad as Lexi’s final round was, it was better than Michelle Wie’s. She finished with a 77. Less said about that the better…