Lydia Ko hit a 3-wood to 3 feet for eagle to finish off Minjee Lee on the first hole of a playoff Sunday in the chilly LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship
Ko won her 15th LPGA Tour title and first since July 2016, a 43-event stretch marked by changes in instructors, caddies and equipment and a large weight loss. Five days after turning 21, the New Zealander won for the third time at Lake Merced after taking the Swinging Skirts LPGA at the tree-lined layout in 2014 and 2015.
Twenty yards behind Lee in the fairway on the par-5 18th in the playoff, Ko hit a 3-wood that cleared the tree limbs on the right, landed in front of the green and rolled inches by on the right side.
Lee, the 21-year-old Australian who won the 2012 U.S. Girls’ Junior at Lake Merced, hit her second shot into the rough near the right greenside bunker and made a 10-foot birdie putt.
Ko closed with a 1-under 71 to match Lee at 12-under 276. Lee had her second straight 68.
Ko holed a flop shot for birdie on the par-4 13th, two-putted for birdie on the par-5 15th and matched Lee with an up-and-down birdie on the 18th to force the playoff.
Playing in the group ahead of Ko and Jessica Korda, Lee holed out from a greenside bunker for birdie on the par-3 17th.
Korda, a stroke ahead of Ko and Lee with nine holes left, finished with a 74 to drop into a tie for third at 8 under with Angel Yin (67), Shanshan Feng (68) and Charley Hull (70).