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Lydia Ko wins in homeland, taking New Zealand Women's Open title for third time

February 14, 2016

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So now we know not even an earthquake can stop Lydia Ko.

And, we learned a lot more about the remarkable heart of this 18-year-old talent as she picked up her 15th professional victory Sunday at the ISPS Handa New Zealand Women’s Open.

A 5.7 magnitude tremor shook Christchurch 10 minutes before Ko teed off at Clearwater Golf Club. Unfazed, she closed with a 70 to win the 54-hole event by two strokes over England’s Felicity Johnson, South Korean amateur Hye-Jin Choi and Denmark’s Nanna Koerstz Madsen at 10-under 206.

During the awards ceremony, Ko broke down as she remembered former New Zealand Golf president Patsy Hankins, who died in October at 70. It was Hankins, one of the first women to be accepted into the R&A, who handed Ko the New Zealand Open trophy in 2013, the first of three times she won the event in her homeland co-sanctioned by Australian Ladies Professional Golf and the Ladies European Tour.

“Thanks to New Zealand Golf,” said Ko, adding, with tears streaming down her cheeks, “I especially miss Patsy.”

Still sitting atop the Rolex Rankings, Ko resumes her LPGA schedule this week at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.