Lydia Ko, Jason Day claim Grant Thornton Invitational title

Jason Day and Lydia Ko won the Grant Thornton Invitational.

Jason Day and Lydia Ko are the inaugural winners of the mixed-team Grant Thornton Invitational.

Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

This past season might have been one to forget for Lydia Ko, but when she, and her partner Jason Day needed her most, she came up clutch, in classic Ko form.

With Ko and Day tied for the lead at 25 under at the Grant Thornton Invitational while playing the par-5 17th hole Sunday at Tiburon Golf Club. In the third and final round of the inaugural mixed field event of PGA and LPGA Tour players, the 16 teams played a modified four-ball format.

That meant Ko watched as Day played off her tee shot from the fairway at 17 and dumped it into the right, shortsided greenside bunker.

Now Ko had to play Day’s tee shot, also in the fairway, but about five yards closer to the green.

She delivered, launching a fairway high into the air, holding it up against a hanging lie and dropping it right on top of the flag, rolling out to just 10 feet for eagle.

Ko two-putted from there for the decisive birdie as the Down Under duo climbed ahead by one at 26 under and parred the final hole for a 66 to win the Grant Thornton Invitational, the PGA and LPGA Tour’s first mixed event of this century.

Ko and Day held off a feverous charge from the Canadian duo of Corey Conners and Brooke Henderson, who started the day four strokes behind Ko and Day’s overnight lead. The Canadians jumpstarted their run when Henderson holed her second shot, played off of Conners’ tee shot, at the ninth, which started to a seven-under run over the next seven holes.

However, Conners and Henderson couldn’t birdie any of the final three holes, stalling at 25 under and settling for a 63.

2023 Grant Thornton Invitational purse: Payout info, winner’s share 
By: Jack Hirsh

The win is unofficial for both Day and Ko, but it’s the first since she won the Saudi Ladies International on the Ladies European Tour in February. After a banner year in 2022 when she won three LPGA events, including the CME Group Tour Championship, and regained World No. 1, Ko didn’t even qualify to defend her title at the LPGA’s season-ender in 2023.

But the 26-year-old had a contrast in her partner this week in Day, who won his first PGA Tour title in five years in May at the AT&T Byron Nelson.

That was a topic of conversation for the two all week as they made likely their final competitive starts before 2024.

“We could definitely use a win like this or even a good finish to propel us into next season,” Day said Saturday night. “I was saying to Lydia there’s certain things we’re both working on in our swings that we want to try and work under pressure.”

With her approach on 17, she certainly proved it was working under pressure.

This year’s event was the first as a mixed-field event with 16 PGA Tour pros pairing with 16 LPGA Tour pros for the three-round tournament using three different formats. The last co-sanctioned event between the two tours was the 1999 JCPenny Classic.

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