April 8, 2019 / 4:52 PM / 13 days ago

Golf: Ko takes over at No. 1 after first major win

Jin Young Ko vaulted from fifth-ranked to No. 1 overall in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings on Monday, one day after the South Korean claimed her first major title.

Apr 7, 2019; Rancho Mirage, CA, USA; Jin Young Ko hits out of the bunker on the 15th hole during the final round of the ANA Inspiration golf tournament at Mission Hills CC - Dinah Shore Tournament Course. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Ko fired a 2-under-par round of 70 on Sunday to win the 2019 ANA Inspiration at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif.

The 23-year-old Ko finished at 10-under 278 to become the fifth South Korean winner of the tournament.

Now, she’s the fifth South Korean player to reach No. 1 status, joining Inbee Park, Sung Hyun Park, So Yeon Ryu and Jiyai Shin.

“Reaching World No. 1 is exciting and I cannot believe that I have achieved this honor,” Ko said in a statement. “I always keep my focus on the golf course and on my playing, but to win a major championship and be called the best player in the world is absolutely a great honor. I want to thank my family, my caddie and my manager for all of their support.”

Her title Sunday was Ko’s second victory of 2019, as she also claimed the 2019 Bank of Hope Founders Cup in mid-March. With the win, she earned 625 points and extended her lead in the Race to the CME Globe, where she entered the tournament 177 points ahead of Nelly Korda (1,155).

Sung Hyun Park, supplanted at No. 1 after five weeks, struggled to a 6-over 78 to finish at 4 over in a tie for 52nd. She fell to second place, just ahead of Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn — who started the year at No. 1.

Australia’s Minjee Lee and Japan’s Nasa Hataoka round out the top five.

American Lexi Thompson, who finished third on Sunday, jumped three spots to No. 6.

—Field Level Media

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