Jin Young Ko wins Portland Classic, Aditi Ashok posts 78

A spotless 69 helped Jin Young Ko clinch a four-stroke win in the rain curtailed Portland Classic, where the third round played out Sunday as the final round.

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Jin Young Ko - LPGA Image - Getty

20 September 2021: Playing in her first event in six weeks, Rolex Rankings No. 2 Jin Young Ko absolutely dominated the field at the 2021 Cambia Portland Classic. Ko carded a bogey-free 69 on Sunday (the third and final round, after play was cancelled on Saturday due to rain) and earned her ninth LPGA Tour victory, a runaway four-stroke win over Jeongeun Lee and Su Oh. Aditi Ashok returned to the LPGA after a long tour to Asia and the adjustment took a toll on her. After an even 72 in the second round, the rain interruption denied her an opportunity to build on it on Saturday. On Sunday, Aditi shot 78 to finish in 73rd place.

“I really wanted to play yesterday, but we couldn’t play. I tried to make a bogey-free round today, and I made it,” said Ko, whose last competition was the Tokyo Olympics in early August. “I had a lot of missed shots and I had a lot of missed chipping or something, so I had to make great par saves, but I made it.”

Ko never blinked on Sunday, starting the day with a one-stroke advantage over Gemma Dryburgh. She made her first birdie at No. 7, with her lead growing to three strokes after Dryburgh made bogeys at 3 and 6, and the lead grew to five with another birdie at No. 10.

Oh and Lee kept Ko in their sights, with Lee making eagle at No. 18 to pull within three at -7. But Ko, ever the confident putter, drained a 23-foot putt from the back of the green at 18 to punctuate the win.

“I was thinking, I just make two putt. Easy. But the ball goes in, so, who knows,” she said with a laugh.

Oh and Lee both earned the best finishes of their LPGA Tour careers with their tie for second. Oh had previously finished second three times, while Lee’s previous best finish was a tie for third.

“I played with kind of a slow start and hung in there and just I holed a really good par putt on 6 and then I kind of got the round going a little bit and then stiffed one on 7,” said Oh. “I hit it pretty good today after that. A few more putts drop then I would have been closer, but still pretty happy with how I played this whole week.”

The Cambia Portland Classic was shortened to 54 holes due to course conditions at Oregon Golf Club, which received just over 2 inches of rain since Friday night. Play was fully rained out on Saturday, with the third round beginning Sunday at 7:30 a.m. Pacific.

Ko raved about the hard work from the maintenance staff at Oregon Golf Club, who spent countless hours over the last two days working to make the course playable. “This course was really amazing, perfectly clearing, and fairways and greens are really perfect,” she said. “I can’t wait to play for next year.”

Dryburgh struggled on Sunday, carding a 4-over 76 and finished tied for eighth at -3 overall. European Solheim Cup star Carlota Ciganda, who played with Ko and Dryburgh in the final group, shot a 1-over 73 and tied for fifth at -4.