Ko Jin-young Wins in Her LPGA Debut

Jin Young Ko leads by two shots at the midway point of her final round at the Australian Open

Jin Young Ko leads by two shots at the midway point of her final round at the Australian Open

In this Reuters photo, South Korean LPGA golfer Ko Jin-young hoists the first place trophy after winning the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open on February 18, 2018.

Ko, 22, the world number 20 and a victor of 10 tournaments on the Korean tour, reached the turn at three-under and rolled in six more birdies on the back nine to gather in a cluster of players who had held the lead at four-under.

Ko, 22, became only the second player in LPGA history to win in her debut as a tour member. The next two tour stops will be the Honda LPGA Thailand this week, where Lexi Thompson, a Player of the Year threat, will make her second start of 2018, followed by the HSBC Women's World Championship in Singapore before the LPGA returns to the U.S.at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup in Phoenix.

Ko previous year lost her world number one ranking amid her first winless LPGA season since 2012. That victory guaranteed her LPGA membership for the 2018 season. "But my friend said to me, 'if you [have] a 10-stroke lead, you'll have the same feeling, so don't be nervous and just relax". Ko hit a lovely seven iron shot to the 17 green, where the pond on the right represented potentially her only way of losing the Open. She had the cushion of a four-shot lead, so that helped. Since her caddie, Dean Herden, is Australian, he knew better than anyone about Kooyonga Golf Club.

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She had nine birdies for the day, two bogeys and shredded the more hard back nine in 31 shots, with five birdies in the last six holes.

By making a birdie putt on the par-4 13th, about six meters (19.7 feet) long, Ko extended her lead by three. "My goal is to be rookie of the year", Ko said. This Ko burst onto the worldwide stage at the 2015 Ricoh Women's British Open at Turnberry, when she gave champion Inbee Park a run while wearing a puffy fur-lined jacket.

New Zealand's former world No.1 Lydia Ko was eight shots off the lead after firing a one-under 71 to be three-under. Last season, Choi finished seventh at the tournament playing as an amateur. Shin, who won the tournament in 2013, lost her chance to defend the title with a double bogey on par-4 eighth.

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