THE OTHERS: Ko’s brilliant title defence

Jin-Young Ko completed one of the great defences of an ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open at The Grange today with a tap-in birdie at the 72nd hole and a 64, stunning golf.

But it was not quite enough.

Spotting overnight leader Nelly Korda a five-shot lead at the start of the day, Ko needed Korda to make more mistakes than the American did on the final day.

The South Korean ended up outright second at 15-under par, just two shots back from Korda, emphasising her position as a top-10 in the world player with a course record and the lowest round of the week.

At the par-four 18th, her caddie told her she was a chance, which was a surprise. Korda was two groups back, but she’d made a bogey at the 15th to leave a slither of a chance.

“I arrived at No. 18 green and caddie told me, one more chance, you have chance for win,’’ Ko said. “And (I said), ‘really?  Okay.  I will try.  I will focus’.  And then I made it.  And then he said, ‘well, really good, you're awesome’.’’

Ko made eight birdies and not a single bogey for the day, hearing the chants from the crowd: ‘Jin-Young, go-go-go’!

Taiwan’s Wei-Lin Hsu finished third outright by making birdie at the 72nd hole for a 68, finishing 12-under par.

American Angel Yin remarkably carded nine birdies in her final-round 66 that earnt her a share of fourth with Haru Nomura, who played in the final group, but was quickly in trouble with a bogey in the first before fighting back to sign for a 70 to finish at 11 under.

Azahara Munoz was also exemplary in her final round, to the point of being leader in the clubhouse for quite a while.

The Spaniard carded seven birdies without a blemish in a fine 65 to roar through the field and finish in a share of sixth with Canada’s Alena Sharp at 10 under.

FULL LEADERBOARD

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WOMEN'S AUSTRALIAN OPEN
Pos.CountryPlayer TotalToday
1 USA N.Korda -17-5
2 KOR J.Ko -15-8
3 TPE W.Hsu -12-4
T4 JPN H.Nomura -11-2
T4 USA A.Yin -11-6
T6 ESP A.Munoz -10-7
T6 CAN A.Sharp -10-4
T8 ENG J.Ewart Shadoff -9-1