Ko eyes three-peat

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Lydia Ko will want nothing more than a three-peat as a present for her 19th birthday on Sunday at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic.  

Ko first won at Lake Merced Golf Club in 2014 with a score of 12-under-par, which was one shot better than what second-placed Stacy Lewis could manage over 72 holes. That victory was Ko's first on the LPGA Tour and prompted her to get the date inked on her wrist. The year 2014 was also the inaugural edition of the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic.

Ko then successfully defended her title in 2015 after extra holes were required to separate herself from Morgan Pressel.

To force a play-off Ko needed to make a birdie on 18 on Sunday, which she did. Producing her best golf under the most extreme pressure has never really been an issue for the New Zealander.

If Ko can win again this week she will become only the 10th player to have won the same tournament for three consecutive years.

The number one-ranked player in the world has been in scintillating form this year and so heads into the week as the overwhelming favourite. She has notched-up five top-three finishes in seven LPGA starts including back-to-back wins at the Kia Classic and the ANA Inspiration.

This week will mark the 26th week she has been at the top of the Rolex Rankings.

The field in California is a strong one though and so Ko will still need to be close to her best if she wants to turn 19 in style.

Tournament winners in 2016 Ha Na Jang, Hyo Joo Kim, Haru Nomura, Lexi Thompson, Minjee Lee and Sei Young Kim will all be out to try and prevent Ko from creating more history.