Danielle Kang grabs the collapse of Lydia Ko to win 2nd straight in Ohio

SYLVANIA, Ohio – Danielle Kang had a careless three-putt bogey when she could afford it the least, leaving her five shots behind Lydia Ko with six holes to play Sunday in the Marathon Classic.

She said to her caddy, “Man, that’s too precious.” He told her she had six holes left.

“It gave me hope,” Kang said. “Sometimes when you’re so far behind, you feel like you have to do a lot to reach that goal.”

Kang delivered a stunning rally without nearly as much hassle as she might have thought, mainly due to a crash by Ko that was equally shocking, especially the double bull on the par-5 closing hole at Highland Meadows.

Kang followed up her late bogey with two straight birdies and four closing pars for a 3 under 68 that was enough for a one-shot victory and her second straight win in Ohio.

Ko stood up for two years and 44 tournaments without a win. She made bogey on the 14th hole, and with Kang’s birdie, the lead was suddenly down to two. Ko dropped another shot on the 16th and caught a while when Kang was in position for birdie on the par-5 17th and had to settle for par.

But on the final par 5, Ko fell apart. She slammed her chip through the green. With a slightly upturned in patterned rough, Ko muffled the chip and saw it roll into a bunker. She blew that out to 10 feet and missed the putt that would have forced a playoff. She wrapped up with a 73.

“I think it’s God’s way of telling me it was not my day,” Ko said.

Jodi Ewart Shadoff, in contention for the second straight week, but still without an LPGA victory, played bogey-free after opening hole for a 67. She wrapped up in a tie for second with Ko.

Ko reached no. 1 in the world as a teenager and is now outside the top 50. Her back had been restless all week, but this turned out to be more about nerves. She also caught a dicey lie for her third shot at 18, and sent it over the green. Then she failed to rip her chip hard enough from the fluffy layer in the rough.

‘Even my first chip. If I had hit it 4 feet shorter, it might have stayed on the green. Who knows? ‘ Ko sei. “Looking back, you are, ‘Maybe I should have done this, maybe I should have done this.’ But, I mean, what can you do? “

Kang finished at 15-under 269 in winning for the fifth time in her LPGA Tour career. The two-time U.S. amateur women’s champion won last week when the LPGA Tour resumed its schedule at tough Inverness Club in nearby Toledo, next year’s Solheim Cup site.

Now Kang is a back-to-back winner and has established herself as the top American player, with sights set at No. 1.

“I’ve consistently played really great before and after quarantine,” Kang said. “I think a big part of how I approach golf is. I’m really not focused on a lot of other things other than just getting better at things where I want to get better. We always have room to improve. , and that’s the beauty of golf. “

Minjee Lee finished eagle birdie for a 68 to finish only in the fourth.

The LPGA Tour, which resumed after six months due to the pandemic, now travels to Scotland for the Ladies Scottish Open and the Women’s British Open two weeks later.