Golf: Ko cruises to New Zealand Open victory

Lydia Ko of New Zealand hits a shot during the final round of the women's Australian Open golf tournament at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Melbourne on Feb 22, 2015. -- PHOTO: AFP
Lydia Ko of New Zealand hits a shot during the final round of the women's Australian Open golf tournament at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Melbourne on Feb 22, 2015. -- PHOTO: AFP

CHRISTCHURCH (AFP) - World number one Lydia Ko cruised to her second New Zealand Open championship crown in three years on Sunday after surviving a slight wobble midway through her final round.

New Zealander Ko, 17, carded a one-under par 71 Sunday after her course record 61 on Saturday and finished on 14-under 202, four strokes clear of Australian amateur Hannah Green who shot a last-day 68.

Denmark's Nanna Koerstz Madsen was a further shot adrift in third at the Clearwater Golf Club in Christchurch.

The victory means Ko will retain her No 1 world ranking after back-to-back wins Down Under following her LPGA Tour Australian Open triumph in Melbourne a week ago.

Ko was five shots clear midway through her round until a double-bogey six at the eighth hole and a bogey at the short ninth threatened to derail her. But the teenager steadied matters with birdies at the 10th and 12th to go five shots ahead.

Playing partner Charley Hull of England, who started the day three shots back, faded badly after the turn with three bogeys and a double in her last seven holes to finish in a tie for sixth, seven shots behind Ko.