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Jin Young Ko wins Volunteers of America Classic for 8th LPGA win


Jin Young Ko took the lead at the Volunteers of America Classic after a marathon 32 holes on Saturday.

Weather delayed the action earlier in the week at the Old American Golf Club in The Colony, Texas, and Ko hustled to beat the setting sun to take a one-shot lead into Sunday’s final round.

She says she woke up 4:50 a.m. and didn’t walk off the course till 9 p.m. Saturday night.

“I did not want to play early [Sunday], so I wanted to finish. We did a great decision,” she said.

It sure seemed like it. Ko birdied three of her first four holes and opened a four-shot lead early in the final round. From there, she kept a lead of at least two shots for most of the day.

Late in the round, rookie Matilda Castren birdied the 17th to get to 15 under, one shot back of Ko.

On 18, Castren putted for birdie from about three feet off the back of the green to potentially tie but missed it right. Ko then made her par to seal the win.

Ko, who recently moved to nearby Frisco, is now 5-for-7 winning on the LPGA after holding the 54-hole lead. This win came just six days after her 100-week run atop the Rolex rankings came to an end.

Nelly Korda took over the top spot after winning the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship a week ago. Losing the top spot didn’t seem to faze Ko.

“That’s fine. And I’m still alive. So doesn’t matter really,” Ko said on Saturday.

Castren finished solo second at 15 under. She shot in the 60s all four days.

Gaby Lopez was among those who made a run at Ko but came up short. Lopez finished solo third at 14 under after shooting a final-round 65.

Emma Talley had the best round Sunday with a 63. She had eight birdies including four straight on Nos. 15, 16, 17 and 18 to close out her day. She finished at 12 under. Talley matched Ko’s first-round 63 for low round of the week. Prior to Sunday, Talley had never shot better than 65.

Angela Stanford, the defending champion who won this tournament last December after it was moved when the schedule was reconfigured because of the pandemic, finished tied for 12th.

Ko is now an eight-time winner on the LPGA, tying her with Brittany Lincicome and Anna Nordqvist, among others. Ko reached the mark in her 73rd LPGA event. Nordqvist has played in 285 events, Lincicome 353.

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