Lydia Ko shoots final-round 65 to win lucrative Saudi Ladies International

Lydia Ko has won the Saudi Ladies International by five shots.

She shot 65 in her last round and did not drop a stroke as she followed up her course record-equalling third-round 63.

Her seven-under round at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club featured five birdies and an eagle.

Lydia Ko poses with the trophy after winning the Saudi Ladies International.

Tristan Jones/LET

Lydia Ko poses with the trophy after winning the Saudi Ladies International.

Ko finished with a final score of 23-under at the $US1 million [$NZ 1.4m] European Tour tournament. Thailand’s 18-year-old Atthaya Thitikul finished runner-up.

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“When I was out there, I was just trying to play the best golf that I can,” world No 7 Ko said afterwards.

“I knew a lot of the top names were playing really well and this is a golf course where there’s a fair amount of birdies, so I was just trying to have my fair share of them and have fun out there.

“It helps when you’re going into the final round with a four-shot cushion, you could shoot the same score as others, but you have those shots from the last three days.

“I birdied the first hole and holed two really good putts for par on two and three which really set the momentum up, and from there I tried not to look back and just go forward.”

It was Ko’s second win this season after a four-year drought.

Thitikul claimed this year’s LET Race to Costa del Sol title with her effort, shooting a final round 66 to be five shots ahead of Spain’s Carlota Ciganda and Alice Hewson of England, who tied for third.

Thitikul was full of praise for Ko’s composure.

“It was a good fight today,” Thitikul said.

“I just did my best out there but Lydia Ko is just the best brilliant. She was really good with her putting, her approach shots, everything she did this week.

“I will definitely learn from her to get better myself.”

The Saudi Ladies International has been a trailblazer for women’s sport there. It was the first international women’s sports event to be held in Saudi Arabia, and be broadcast on national television.

“Hopefully, with the tournament being on here for the last couple of years, more and more women have the courage to take up golf and want to, in the future, come and play this event. It was really cool meeting a few of the Ladies First Club members over these past few days and to them, I’d just say keep working hard and show the power of women,” Ko said of a campaign that saw around 1200 young women sign up to learn the game over the four days of the tournament.

Ko now returns to the United States for the Pelican Women’s Championship in Florida, headlined by Jin Young Ko, Nelly Korda and Sei Young Kim.

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