Golf: Lydia Ko crumbles in final round in LPGA Tour opener

Kiwi golfer Lydia Ko
Kiwi golfer Lydia Ko. Photo credit: Reuters.

Kiwi golfer Lydia Ko had a back-nine meltdown, as her hopes of winning the opening tournament of the LPGA season ended in Florida on Monday (NZ time).

Ko started the final round at Four Seasons Golf and Sports Club in Orlando tied for the lead on 13-under par, but the 21-year-old dropped five shots in her last six holes to finish in eighth place, seven shots behind Korean winner Eun-Hee Ji on 14-under par.

The Aucklander's final round of six-over 77 saw her finish seven-under par at the Tour of Champions.

Ko started the round with seven straight pars, before a bogey on the par-fourth eighth saw her drop her first shot of the round.

She then parred the next four holes, before her downfall started with double-bogey seven on the par-five 13th proving particularly costly.

A birdie for Ji on the same hole made it a three-shot swing and put Ko four shots back.

Ko then bogeyed the next hole - the par-three 14th - which all-but ended her hopes of victory.

Ko picked up a shot with a solid birdie on 16, but then bogeyed 17 and double-bogeyed 18 to end the tournament in disappointing fashion.

Ji ended up two shots clear of compatriot Mirim Lee to claim her fifth career win on the LPGA Tour. The 32-year-old made five birdies and four bogeys in a rollercoaster final round.

Ko was looking for her first tournament win, since claiming the Mediheal Championship in April last year.