New Zealand Golf Magazine - - NEWS -

Life is on the up for Ly­dia Ko as she shot a fi­nal-round five-un­der 66 and record an­other strong fin­ish at the LPGA Tour's NW Arkansas Cham­pi­onship playing at the Pin­na­cle Coun­try Club.

How­ever, Ly­dia could not quite pro­duce the pow­er­ful round she needed to con­tend at the end af­ter start­ing the last day six shots back of the lead­ers.

A nice fin­ish with a birdie at the fi­nal hole, cour­tesy of a nice up and down from off the green, en­abled Ly­dia to climb into a six-way tie for ninth in the tour­na­ment won by Ja­pan's Nasa Hataoka.

It is Ko's fourth top-10 fin­ish in her last six starts on the tour and is a solid fol­low-up on her third-place fin­ish at the Mei­jer Clas­sic last start out.

The now 21-year-old birdied the par-3 3rd, the par-5 7th and the par-4 9th to turn in three un­der for her fi­nal round. She picked up an­other shot at the par-3 11th, but had to wait un­til the 18th for her fi­nal red num­ber af­ter rat­tling off six con­sec­u­tive pars.

Nasa Hataoka how­ever raced away to record her first ca­reer tour vic­tory by six shots with a blis­ter­ing fi­nal-round eigh­tun­der 63 see­ing her fin­ish on 21 un­der for the tour­na­ment. The world No 30 from Ja­pan had eight birdies and 10 pars in a blem­ish-free round for the most sig­nif­i­cant re­sult in her ca­reer.

Amer­i­can Austin Ernst fin­ished sec­ond, a half-dozen shots back on 15 un­der, af­ter fir­ing a fi­nal-round 65.

Six golfers were a shot back in a tie for third on 13 un­der par, in­clud­ing Amer­i­cans Lexi Thomp­son, Ryann O'Toole, Brit­tany Al­tomare and Ally McDon­ald, as well as Ger­man San­dra Gal and Aussie Min­jee Lee.

Ly­dia Ko.

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