Golf: Kiwi Lydia Ko barely secures 2024 LPGA Tour card with top-40 finish at The Annika

Lydia Ko in action at The Annika in Florida.
Lydia Ko in action at The Annika in Florida. Photo credit: Getty Images

Kiwi star Lydia Ko has snuck into the LPGA top 100 to barely retain her full tour card for next year.

Twelve months ago, Ko won the lucrative Tour Championship to finish No.1 in the world, while sweeping season awards and then marrying in South Korea, but has watched her form slide this year, as she struggled to make cuts.

Ranked 101 on the CME Globe rankings before this week's The Annika tournament in Florida, she needed to improve her standing to keep her card for next year and has succeeded in that goal.

Ko carded a even-par 70 in the fourth round to finish tied for 31st at the Pelican Golf Club, 12 strokes behind American winner Lilia Vu. That finish was enough to edge her up the required one spot on the rankings.

If she had missed out, there are a variety of other ways she could have gained entry into tournaments in 2024. As a three-time winner of the past two years, Ko would have qualified down that route.

Ranked fifth in career earnings with US$17 million (NZ$28.9m), she is also easily inside the top-20 criteria for that route.

Ko, 26, has won just $224,130 this year, compared to $4.3 million last year, and has finished inside the top 10 just twice, including third at the BMW Ladies Championship last month and sixth-equal in the season-opening LPGA Thailand in February. She has also missed four cuts.

The Kiwi scored back-to-back birdies on the 13th and 14th holes of her final round at Pelican, but dropped a shot on the last to leave her with a nervous wait until the end of the day's play.

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