Closing 71 for Maguire as Jin Young Ko successfully defends in Singapore

Mark McGowan

Leona Maguire (Photo by Thananuwat Srirasant/Getty Images)

Mark McGowan

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Leona Maguire shot a final-round one-under 71 to close out the HSBC Women’s World Championship at Singapore’s Sentosa Golf Club, seeing the Ballyconnell native finish tied for 20th on the leaderboard.

Heavy rains disrupted the tournament throughout, causing suspensions of play on the final three days, and the soft conditions played into the hands of the power players of the LPGA circuit, meaning that though she’s added distance over the past couple of years, Maguire still faced an uphill challenge.

Beginning the day T15 at -6, the world number 11 failed to get any early momentum, with a birdie at the par-5 fifth hole the only time she strayed from par on the opening nine. She’d trade a bogey-five at the 11th with a birdie-four at the 15th for a level-par back nine would see her post a round of 71 – the first time she’d break par in all four rounds this season – but she’d drop five spots on the leaderboard to finish up in a tie for 20th.

A cold putter was her nemesis on a day where she’d hit all 14 fairways and 17 of 18 greens in regulation, but would require 34 jabs with the flatstick.

54-hole leader Jin Young Ko would go on to successfully defend her title, firing a closing-69 to secure a two-stroke victory over Nelly Korda who matched the Korean’s three-under but at no stage was able to draw level during the final round.

Three birdies in a row on three, four and five saw the American get within one on the front nine, but Ko would extend her advantage to three over Korda at the turn. 36-hole leader Danielle Kang made a charge and she trailed Ko by just a single stroke after a birdie at the par-5 13th – her fifth of the day – but Ko would follow suit and her advantage was extended when Kang bogeyed shortly after.

Play was suspended before the final groups completed their rounds, and play resumed in testing conditions as rain continued to teem down on Sentosa Island. There was a considerable threat that play may be halted again with a Monday finish becoming a strong possibility, but they played through the heavy rain and Ko tapped in a three-footer at the last to secure a two-stroke victory and her 14th LPGA Tour victory.

“I actually didn’t honestly know if we were going to finish the last hole,” Korda admitted afterwards. “I’m super, super happy that we got to finish and I get to leave tonight. It’s always tough when you go in and out and you have to kind of deal with all the rain delays, but at the end of the day, everyone is kind of dealing with it and just got to keep your head down and know that every shot counts and to take advantage of every situation you can.

“Obviously a little disappointed with today. Didn’t play really well but kind of didn’t really battle as much as I wanted to. I just made a couple kind of silly mistakes here and there.”

The LPGA circuit will return to the United States and, after a short hiatus, next up is the Drive On Championship at Superstition Mountain Golf and Country Club in Gold Canyon, Arizona where Maguire will be defending champion for the first time in her LPGA Tour career.


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