Amateur Ko climbs into world pro Top 10

She’s about as far from being a ‘rank amateur’ in the women’s game as you can get but with her stunning defence of the Canadian Open at the weekend, 16-year old Lydia Ko became a ‘Top 10 ranked player’ on the Rolex Women’s World Rankings for the first time.

Just four months after turning 16 and becoming eligible to sit for her learner’s permit in New Zealand, the Korean-born Kiwi moved up to No.7 with her second LPGA title, one spot behind Australian Karrie Webb, who is also enjoying a strong year with three titles on three different continents.

Lydia Ko Lydia Ko (Credit: Anthony Powter)

Ko has completely dominated the Canadian Open over the past two seasons, never scoring in the seventies and is a combined 28-under par.

She has also left plenty of money behind for others, maintaining her amateur status and indicating that she will continue to do that for a good while yet.

Frenchwoman Karine Icher, who was part of the victorious European Solheim Cup team a fortnight ago, took home the $300,000 ‘winner’s cheque’ in Canada and moved to No. 20 in the world after finishing a distant five strokes behind Ko.

The winner of the first three majors of the year, Inbee Park of Korea, continues to lead the Rolex Rankings by a considerable margin from American Stacey Lewis with Norway’s Suzann Pettersen in third.

While the superlatives for Ko’s command performance continue to flow around the globe, spare a thought for the last person to defend back-to-back LPGA titles – former world number one Yani Tseng – whose struggles with her game and confidence have seen her slide back to No. 15 after dominating the sport only a few short years ago.

Despite starting the season brightly with a second in Australia and third in Thailand, Tseng has since been on a downward spiral with five missed cuts and a best finish of only a tie for 19th at the Wegmans LPGA Championship.