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Kiwi Ko cruises to Kia Classic crown

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Mon, 28 Mar 2016

Carlsbad: World number one Lydia Ko captured her 11th USLPGA Tour title as she cruised to a four-stroke victory at the Kia Classic tournament on Sunday.

The 18-year-old New Zealand teenager fired a five-under par 67 to finish at 19-under 269 and earn $255,000 in first place prize money. She will remain number one for the 23rd straight week.

The win puts Ko in the driver's seat heading into next week's ANA Inspiration, the first major championship of the season.

"I've been playing consistently well, so I'm really happy about that. But who knows what's going to happen tomorrow," Ko said.

Ko maintained the lead throughout the fourth round as she went into the final day holding a three-shot lead.

She finished with seven birdies, including birdies on each of the final three holes.

South Korea's Park In-Bee shot a five-under 67 to finish alone in second place at 15-under 273. She had birdies on three of her first eight holes Sunday to apply some pressure on Ko.

"I took a peek at the leaderboard and saw that In-Bee was making a lot of birdies," Ko said. "I knew that I had to focus until the last moment.

"Fortunately, I made some birdies down the stretch, and that really helped."

Japan's Ai Miyazato shot a six-under 66 in the final round to finish in third place at 276, while two South Koreans, Park Sung-Hyun and Jenny Shin, finished tied for fourth at 277 after both shot even par on the final day.

Four players tied for sixth at 10-under 278, comprising Gerina Piller, China's Feng Shanshan, Jessica Korda and South Korea's Kim Hyo-Joo.

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