(Corrects number of crystal globes won in 2nd para)
By Patrick Lang
KRANJSKA GORA, Slovenia, March 9 (Reuters) - American Ted Ligety won the Kranjska Gora giant slalom for a fifth time on Saturday to secure the World Cup in the discipline.
It was the triple world champion's fourth giant slalom crystal globe and the victory on the Podkoren slope, one of his favourites on the circuit, was his fifth of the season.
With a combined time of two minutes and 35.43 seconds, Ligety was 0.45 ahead of Austrian Marcel Hirscher while up-and-coming Frenchman Alexis Pinturault was third, 0.77 off the pace.
"I had an awesome season but to win here is a real cool feeling," said Ligety, who handled the conditions perfectly as it rained heavily for most of the second leg.
Only fourth after the first run, Hirscher raised his game in the afternoon to widen the gap on his nearest rival, Aksel Lund Svindal, in the overall Word Cup standings.
The Norwegian fared finished sixth, 1.30 seconds behind Ligety, but now lies 69 points behind Hirscher overall.
With a slalom scheduled on Sunday, Hirscher has the opportunity to increase his lead further before the World Cup finals in Lenzerheide next week. (Editing By Alison Wildey)