ANA Inspiration LPGA tournament: full of twists and turns…By Mike Arthur / Sports Life magazine

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Updated: April 4, 2016

The ANA Inspiration LPGA tournament was full of twists and turns and the LPGA major championship did not fail to deliver.

Throughout the tournament top ranked Lydia Ko battled Lexi Thompson, Charley Hull, and Ariya Jutanugarn with Ko finding herself battling back on the back nine several days in a row.

Ko celebrates the win and later in April will celebrate her 19th birthday. Her run on the tour has been impressive since the New Zealander won the Evian Championship in France last September.  As she blows out the candles on the 24th later this month she will do so as a two time majors champion.

“This been a long week,” said Ko. “I’m proud I was able to make those clutch putts, especially on the back nine.”

Ko secured the victory overtaking Ariya Jutanugarn, who took the lead 10 holes earlier bogied 16 and 17 to lose a two-shot lead. In the end it was Ko making the victor’s splash into the pond.

“This has been a long week. I am proud that I was able to make those clutch putts, especially on the back nine. It’s a pretty amazing feeling and to be able to jump in Poppie’s Pond is pretty surreal.” Said Ko.

The ANA Inspiration played at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage has been a fixture on the LPGA tour since its founding by celebrity and local resident Dinah Shore in 1972.  In 1983 it was given the tour’s major status.

As the sun was beginning to set on the valley a slight breeze was making its way across the course.  The tournament appeared headed to a playoff as Ariya Jutanugarn , coming off a three putt on 16, put her drive into the bunker on 17 leading to a tie on the leaderboard. That’s when Ko seized her final opportunity opting to go for the green on her second shot on the 18th hole.  Her shot was masterful putting her inches from the hole.

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Photos By: Raymond Rodriguez  / Sports Life magazine