Ko outlasts Ryu to win Marathon Classic

07/20/2014 5:06 PM

07/20/2014 7:29 PM

Sylvania, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - So Yeon Ryu narrowly missed a birdie putt at No. 18 that would have forced a playoff on Sunday, giving 17-year-old Lydia Ko a 1-shot victory at the Marathon Classic.

Ko fired a final-round, 6-under 65 and finished at 15-under 269 for the week. The win is already Ko's fourth on the LPGA Tour and her second this year after winning the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic in April.

"Right now in this situation I can't do anything about it and I think that's what makes it so nerve racking," Ko said about waiting for Ryu to finish up the last hole. "My heart was beating. So Yeon was playing well today so I thought she obviously had a big chance of making the putt and for us to go into a playoff."

Ryu (67), the 2011 U.S. Women's Open champion, birdied four of her last seven holes to put the pressure on Ko, but Ryu could not get her birdie putt to go from about six feet at the 18th and she ended at 15-under 270 at Highland Meadows Golf Club.

"Absolutely disappointed I missed that birdie putt," Ryu said. "But still, I had quite a rough front nine but I was fighting pretty great on the back nine."

With Ryu playing in the penultimate group and Ko one group ahead of her, Ryu made a long, bending birdie putt on 17 to tie things up at 14-under. Unfazed on the 18th hole, Ko stuck her third shot within a few feet of the hole. She knocked in the putt that proved to be the decisive birdie.

Cristie Kerr, who at one point shared the lead with Ko, shot a 67 on Sunday and ended in sole possession of third place at 12-under 272.

Third-round co-leader Lee-Anne Pace finished four shots back at 11-under after her final-round 71. She was joined by Kelly Tan (67) and Katherine Kirk (68).

Pernilla Lindberg (65), Julieta Granada (66), Kris Tamulis (68), Lindsey Wright (68) and Women's British Open champion Mo Martin (69) tied for seventh at 10-under 274.

Laura Diaz, who began the day tied with Pace for the lead, struggled to a final-round 75 and ended at 7-under.

Ko had three birdies at three, four and eight on her front nine and did not drop a shot. After a birdie at No. 10, Ko had a 2-shot lead over Kerr, while Ryu sat three shots off the pace at 10-under with Lindberg, Granada, Martin, Pace and Mirim Lee.

Kerr pulled even with Ko at 13-under with a birdie at No. 13. In the meantime, Ryu was about to start a huge run that would get her into contention.

Ryu made birdies at 12 and 13 to move to minus-12, one shot back of Ko and Kerr. Ryu managed to make pars at 14 and 15 to remain there.

Kerr dropped a shot with a bogey at No. 15 and she never recovered, finishing with three pars to end at minus-12.

Ko came through with a clutch birdie at the par-4 16th to get two shots up, but Ryu made birdie on the same hole after a great approach put her ball just feet from the hole.

Ryu's big birdie putt on 17 brought on some loud cheers from the crowd and Ko knew she had work to do on the last.

"When I was doing my yardage I kind of had a look. I knew I needed to make a birdie because she was definitely going to make one," Ko said. "I hit the ball pretty well and I gave myself a lot of opportunities and that's what you have to do."

Ko did indeed come through with that birdie at the last to earn yet another win.

NOTES: Ko earned $210,000 with Sunday's win. That pushed Ko to $1,061,019 in career earnings, making her the youngest player ever to eclipse $1,000,000 ... World No. 1 Stacy Lewis finished tied for 25th at 6-under 278 ... The LPGA heads to Owings Mills, Maryland this week for the International Crown, which is a new event.

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