(Reuters) - Teenager Lydia Ko cruised into the winner’s circle for a third time this season to claim her 13th career title on the LPGA Tour with a three-shot victory at the Arkansas Championship on Sunday.
The world number one carded a three-under-par 68 for a tournament-record total of 17-under 196 in the 54-hole event at Pinnacle Country Club, three shots clear of Taiwan’s Candie Kung (69) and American Morgan Pressel (71).
The 19-year-old New Zealander made only four bogeys all week, including a sloppy six at her closing hole when she pulled her six-iron layup shot into a pond that guards the left side of the fairway.
“It wasn’t the greatest ending to finish up with a six,” Ko told Golf Channel. “It covers up how well I played earlier on today.”
Ko began the final round tied for the lead with Pressel, but stormed four strokes ahead of her American competitor with four birdies in the first five holes.
That lead was reduced to two when Ko bogeyed the sixth and Pressel birdied the seventh. However, Ko rebuilt her advantage when Pressel made four straight bogeys, beginning at 11.
“I hit the ball really well on the front nine, but I was definitely a little tired going to the back nine,” said Ko, who lost in a playoff to Canadian Brooke Henderson at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship two weeks ago.
“I think the sun got to me a bit, even though I tried to keep hydrated.”
The 28-year-old Pressel now has seven runner-up showings since her last LPGA victory in 2008.
American Angela Stanford (65), Thailand’s Moriya Jutanugarn (68), German Sandra Gal (69) and China’s Jing Yan (70) finished joint fourth at 13-under.
Reporting by Tim Wharnsby in Toronto; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes