KING ABDULLAH ECONOMIC CITY, Saudi Arabia — Lydia Ko began the new year the same way she ended 2022, with a big win and a big check as she closed with a 4-under 68 to win the Aramco Saudi Ladies International.
Ko, the No. 1 player in women’s golf, held off Aditi Ashok of India to capture the richest prize among regular Ladies European Tour events. She won $750,000 from the $5 million prize fund at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club.
Ko ended last year by winning the LPGA Tour finale and $2 million, the richest payoff in women’s golf, which elevated her to No. 1 in the world.
The Kiwi got married in December, skipped the LPGA Tour’s season opener in Florida last month and then showed she still was in top-ranked form. It was her 26th victory worldwide.
“I’m playing with the world’s best. The field this week was really good, so I knew it was going to be a challenge,” Ko said. “The first one of the year, it’s really hard because you don’t have anything to base yourself off.
“You don’t know if you’re going to play well or bad. But the start definitely helped, and I think I stayed really patient, and I was not as nervous as I thought I would be, which is definitely good.”
Lilia Vu, who had a 1-shot lead going into the final round, slipped to a 71 and tied for third with Manon De Roey of Belgium (63) and Lexi Thompson (66).