13 Jun 2016

Ko edged by younger player at latest major

5:26 pm on 13 June 2016

Canadian golfer Brooke Henderson has pipped New Zealand's Lydia Ko in a sudden-death playoff to win the Women's PGA championship in Washington.

Canadian winner Brooke Henderson poses with the Women's PGA Championship trophy at Sahalee Country Club on June 12, 2016 in Sammamish, Washington. Jeff Gross/Getty Images/AFP 
JEFF GROSS / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

Canadian winner Brooke Henderson poses with the Women's PGA Championship trophy Photo: AFP

Ko was chasing her third straight major title near Seattle, after winning her first at the Evian Championship in France last year and this year's ANA Inspiration in California.

And she had birdie chances on her last two holes to win the tournament outright.

But the 19-year-old missed both, earning pars instead to set up the playoff at the Sahalee Country Club.

"I'm happy with the way I played, I just got outplayed... even down that playoff hole for her to go that Tiger (Woods) line, right at the pin and to have the perfect yardage, she just played great," Ko said.

"I am proud of the way I played but in this case I just got outplayed."

Despite missing some key birdie opportunities, Ko refused to be too hard on herself.

"Just to play well at this event when I didn't play well her last year gives me confidence. Even though I am not the winner I feel there are so many positives to take from this week... this is the first playoff hole I have had at a major and it was a great experience and I think it's great for the women's game."

Canadian too clutch for Ko

Henderson was already in the clubhouse on six under par, and the 18-year-old's approach shot to the first playoff hole was considerably closer than Ko's.

Lydia Ko in action at the Women's PGA Championship

Lydia Ko in action at the Women's PGA Championship Photo: AFP

The Aucklander had to hole a long birdie putt to keep her chances alive, but missed again - and Henderson easily sank her putt.

"I can't fault something I know that there was so many positives. If I think about all the negatives and 'oh what if I did this or that better or what if I put myself in that position it's a bit too much so I am just going to be proud of how I played this week," Ko said.

Henderson becomes the second youngest major champion in history, behind Ko, and at 18 years and one month old, Henderson is the youngest player to win the Women's PGA.

Taiwan's Yani Tseng was the previous youngest winner at 19 years and four months old.

Ko went into the final day with a one shot lead on two under. It was the first time the world No.1 had held the 54-hole lead in a major championship.

Meanwhile Ko's coach David Leadbetter believes the top three finishers represent the future of the women's game.

Henderson is 18, Ko 19 and third placed finisher 20 year old Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand.

"The fascinating thing is that I think this will make Lydia stronger. A player of her ability level needs competition and she going to have it from these girls and I think it will just push her to another level," said Leadbetter.

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