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Ko wins ANA Inspiration; Conners takes Texas Open

April 8, 2019
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Jin Young Ko, center, of South Korea, jumps into the pond with caddie David Brooker, left, and her agent Soo Jin Choi, right, after winning the LPGA Tour ANA Inspiration golf tournament at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif., Sunday, April 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
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Jin Young Ko, center, of South Korea, jumps into the pond with caddie David Brooker, left, and her agent Soo Jin Choi, right, after winning the LPGA Tour ANA Inspiration golf tournament at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif., Sunday, April 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. (AP) — Jin Young Ko won the ANA Inspiration on Sunday at Mission Hills for her first major title and second victory in three weeks.

Ko closed with a 2-under 70 in hot and mostly calm conditions for a three-stroke victory over Mi Hyang Lee. She celebrated with the traditional winner’s leap into Poppie’s Pond.

She’s projected to jump from fifth to first in the world ranking Monday.

After bogeys on 13 and 15 cut her lead to a stroke, Ko made a 6-foot birdie putt on the par-4 16th and closed with a 15-foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th.

Ko finished at 10-under 278. The 23-year-old South Korean won for the fourth time on the LPGA Tour, completing a desert sweep after taking the Founders Cup in Phoenix. She leads the money list and has five top-three finishes in six events this year.

Ko also gave caddie David Brooker his third victory in the event. The Englishman also leaped into Poppie’s Pond with Grace Park in 2004 and Lorena Ochoa in 2008.

Lee parred the final six holes in a 70.

A stroke ahead of playing partner In-Kyung Kim entering the round, Ko had a three-stroke lead at the turn and faced little pressure until stumbling with the bogeys on 13 and 15. Her drive on the par-4 13th bounded down the fairway and jumped into the thick right rough, and her long approach ended up short of the green in the left rough. After missing a 12-foot birdie putt on the par-3 14th, she hit into the left greenside bunker on the par-4 15th and missed a 12-foot par try.

Lexi Thompson was third at 6 under after a 67.

Kim closed with a 74 to tie for fourth at 5 under with Carlota Ciganda. The 30-year-old South Korean lost a chance to win the event seven years after missing a 14-inch putt on the final hole of regulation and losing on the first hole of a playoff.

Ciganda finished with a 68.

PGA TOUR

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Corey Conners won the Texas Open as Monday qualifier for his first PGA Tour title and a sport in the Masters.

The first Monday qualifier to win on the tour in nine years, the Canadian birdied three of the final five holes for his second straight 6-under 66 and a two-stroke victory over Charley Hoffman. Conners finished at 20-under 268 at TPC San Antonio.

Hoffman, the 2016 Texas Open winner, had weekend round of 64 and 67.

Ryan Moore closed with a 64, a shot off the course record, to finish third at 17 under.

PGA TOUR CHINA

SANYA, China (AP) — Officials at the Sanya Championship said Sunday that 28-year-old Malaysian golfer Arie Irawan died in his hotel room from “apparent natural causes,” and the PGA Tour Series-China canceled the final round of the tournament.

American Trevor Sluman led after 54 holes with an 18-under total of 198 and was declared winner of the tournament. Three Americans — Matt Gilchrest, Max McGreevy and Michael Perras — were tied for second, two strokes behind.

The PGA Tour Series-China said in a statement that Irawan missed the 36-hole cut Friday in the tournament at Sanya Yalong Bay Golf Club. It said the official coroner’s report had not been completed.

“Out of respect for the family, officials canceled the final round of the Sanya Championship ... it’s a true tragedy what has happened. Sometimes, though, things happen in life that are bigger than a sporting event,” the tour said.

OTHER TOURS

Leona Maguire won the Symetra Tour’s Windsor Golf Classic in California for her first professional title. She beat Pajaree Anannarukarn with a birdie on the first hole of a playoff. ... JC Ritchie made eagle on the final hole to force a playoff and beat Rhys Enoch with a birdie on the first extra hole to win the Zanaco Masters on the Sunshine Tour in South Africa. ... Sadom Kaewkanjana of Thailand made an 8-foot par putt on the 18th hole for a 1-under 70 and a one-shot victory in the Bangabandhu Cup Golf Open on the Asian Tour. ... Misuzu Narita birdied the par-5 18th at Ibaraki Golf Club for a 5-under 67 and a one-shot victory in the Yamaha Ladies Open Katsuragi on the Japan LPGA Tour. ... Ayean Cho closed with a 5-under 67 to win the Lotte Rent-a-Car Women’s Open on the Korean LPGA Tour.

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