Posted: April 27, 2015 3:21 am
Most of the week belonged to Brooke Mackenzie Henderson. Most of the final round belonged to Morgan Pressel.
In the end, it was Lydia Ko time again.
Ko, two days after her 18th birthday, birdied the second hole of a sudden-death playoff with Pressel to win the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic in San Francisco.
Henderson, a 17 year-old Canadian who is not an LPGA Tour member, fired a second-round 65 and led from then until early in the final round. She labored to a 74 Sunday and finished third, a shot out of the playoff.
Pressel, one of the original kid prodigies of women’s golf, is now 26 and hasn’t won since 2008. She shot 72 Sunday and led until Ko birdied the 72nd hole, a par-5, with a five-foot birdie putt.
Pressel had mid-length birdie putts on 18 in regulation and on both playoff holes.
Ko is the world’s top-ranked player and the tour’s leading money winner. The win was her seventh on tour.
Henderson changed her mind on a commitment to attend the University of Florida last year and turned pro, even though the LPGA denied her request to join the tour, a requirement for under-18 year-olds.
She has played in minor-league and mini-tour events and some LPGA events via Monday qualifying (she will be in Lancaster for July’s U.S. Open, earning an exemption by finishing in the top 10 in last year’s Open).
She is flying to Dallas as this is written to enter another Monday qualifier, for this week’s North Texas Shootout. This is one area where the LPGA could learn something from the men’s tour; top 10 finishers earn automatic berths in the following week’s event.