Lydia Ko gets major rankings rise after returning to title winning form

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After Australia's Lee salvaged a birdie from the greenside rough, Ko rolled in her three-foot eagle putt to end the Down Under playoff duel.

As it turned out, Ko needed to birdie three of her final six holes to get into the playoff, and started by holing a nifty pitch shot on the par-4 13th and finished regulation with a chip shot that almost went in for a winning eagle on the 72nd hole. "I didnt know how close it was going to be, so to have a two-footer to possibly win was a pretty good feeling but also nerve racking too". Lee, also 21, finished with back-to-back birdies, holing out from a bunker at 17 and ramming in a birdie putt at the last to post a four-under 68 that featured seven birdies.

To her credit, Lee scrambled to make a superb birdie, forcing Ko to hole out for the win, which she duly accomplished, leading to an outpowering of emotions after what has been a comparatively challenging period for a player whose ascent was once limitless.

In other words, even better than her chip shot from the left-side rough at the same Lake Merced Golf Club hole that gave her a first win as a professional at the 2014 Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic.

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Derby, Thomas Duarte and the recently signed Gavin Escobar at the position, none of whom is a bonafide starter. Along with his work on offense, Ballage averaged 22.1 yards on 48 kickoff returns at Arizona State.

An eagle on the first play off hole saw the Kiwi lift her first title since July 2016.

"It's insane ... I was able to kind of put my game together on the back nine", Ko said. I just said "hey you've just got to focus cause you never know what's going to happen".

No one worked harder than Ko. I think sometimes self pressure is the biggest thing where you kind of put a lot of load on your shoulders.

Having been a teenage phenomenon - who broke a succession records to dominate the world rankings - the New Zealander's past two seasons have been overwhelmed by a revolving door of changes, both in the caddying and coaching departments. A swing that started in Phoenix and ended near San Francisco was a wild ride across the West Coast with Lydia Ko and Minjee Lee ending it with an appropriate exclamation mark.

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