Lydia Ko and Jason Day hold on to win inaugural mixed event
Naples — Lydia Ko of New Zealand birdied the 17th hole and had a tap-in par at 18 as she partnered with Australia’s Jason Day to win the inaugural Grant Thornton Invitational on Sunday at Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, Florida, in the US.
Ko and Day posted their second straight round of six-under 66 to finish at 26-under for the three-day mixed teams event. They beat Canadians Brooke Henderson and Corey Conners by one shot.
The tournament featured 16 mixed teams with one male and one female player. The teams played a scramble format on Friday and foursomes (alternate shot) on Saturday. Sunday’s final round was a modified four-ball in which both teammates teed off, then switched balls for their second shots and played that ball the rest of the hole.
Ko and Day had a two-stroke lead entering the day. They combined to card six birdies without a bogey on Sunday.
“It felt like the most stress-free win because I just knew she [Ko] was going to step up in the end, which was fantastic,” Day said. “It was a fun week. I think having the two tours join this week was a fun way to finish the year out.”
“I learnt a lot, whether it was short-sided chips or just how to commit and hit bombs down there,” Ko said of playing with the men. “This has just been a great start for the two tours coming together and having a mixed event and I really hope this is something that continues for a long time.”
Conners and Henderson had a wild start. They were able to card an eagle on the par-five first hole and birdied the par-four second before having to settle for a double bogey at the par-four third. They added a second eagle when Conners holed out at the par-four ninth, and they birdied five of the next six holes to get to 25-under overall and a final-round 63.
Swedish partners Madelene Sagstrom and Ludvig Aberg were third at 24-under after firing a final-round 60, with 10 birdies and a late eagle.
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