Ko survives double-hit to win Kia Classic by four strokes

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[March 28, 2016]    (Reuters) - Not even a rare double-hit could derail world number one Lydia Ko from winning the Kia Classic by four strokes over Park In-bee in southern California on Sunday.

Ko shot 67 for a 19-under-par 269 total on the Aviara course in Carlsbad, for her 11th LPGA victory.

The New Zealand teenager seemed to be cruising when a putt from off the green at the 10th hole led to a double-hit that could have put her off her game.

As she struck the ball, it popped almost straight up and hit the shaft of her putter, near the top of the hosel, before trickling forward onto the green.

Ko took the mandatory one-stroke penalty and bogeyed the hole.

But unfazed, she made five straight pars and then after South Korean Park, who was playing a few groups ahead, pulled to within a shot with a birdie at 17, Ko concluded with three birdies in a row.

"I started off real well and gave myself opportunities on one, two, three and four, the 18-year-old Ko told Golf Channel.

"I was able to make birdies on one and two. I peaked at the leaderboard and saw that In-bee was making a lot of birdies. In-bee was doing was In-bee things. I knew I needed to focus until the last moment. Fortunately, I made some birdies down the stretch."

Ko will seek her second major title at the ANA Inspiration, which begins on Thursday, to go with the Evian Championship she won last summer.

"Who knows what is going to happen tomorrow, but Im confident right now," she said.

(Reporting by Tim Wharnsby in Toronto; Editing by Andrew Both)

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