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Ko struggles for season-ending momentum

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 6/11/2016
Lydia Ko © Getty Images Lydia Ko

Lydia Ko's slip during the Asian swing of the LPGA Tour has left her struggling to regain momentum in the battle for the Tour's major prizes.

Ko finished the Tour's penultimate tournament, the Japan Classic, in a share of 43rd place on Sunday.

She was two shots under the card for the three-round tournament, and 11 behind winner Shanshan Feng of China.

The 19-year-old New Zealander is still ranked No.1 in the world, but her recent erratic form means she looks unlikely to repeat her award-winning end to last season.

Ko trails 20-year-old Thai golfer Ariya Jutanugarn in both the Tour's season-long points race and in the battle for LPGA player of the year.

Jutanugarn's final round 74 at the Japan Classic meant she finished in a tie for 10th place, five shots behind Feng but six ahead of Ko.

Going into the final event of the year, the Tour Championship in Florida beginning on November 17, Jutanugarn leads Ko by 126 points in the battle to win the $US1 million points race jackpot.

Feng has moved into contention with her win in Japan, her second victory in as many tournaments, jumping from 11th to sixth overall.

Jutanugarn also leads the player of the year standings on 261 points, 14 ahead of second-placed Ko, and the money-winning list where she has accumulated $US2,475,218 to Ko's $US2,457,913.

Ko's last top-10 finish came more than two months ago, when she took fifth at the LPGA Classic in Ontario, Canada.

PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 18: Lydia Ko of New Zealand poses for a portrait ahead of the LPGA Founders Cup at Wildfire Golf Club on March 18, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) How 19-year-old Lydia Ko made it to the top of the golfing world
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