Ko becomes youngest ever LPGA winner
World number one amateur and reigning US and Australian Amateur champion Lydia Ko has rewritten the record books once again in becoming the first New Zealander and the youngest golfer to win on the LPGA Tour.
The 15-year-old from the Gulf Harbour Country Club held a one shot lead heading into the final round of the Canadian Open and saved her best for last in a performance that will be talked about around the world.
Lydia Ko all smiles at her recent Canadian Open win (Credit: Bernard Brault/Golf Canada)
She carded a five-under-par 67 in the final round at the Vancouver Golf Club – that included four birdies in succession after the turn – to claim a three shot win over South Korean professional Inbee Park (69) and another special piece of history.
Ko surpassed the feats of her American heroine Lexi Thompson who was the youngest LPGA Tour winner after she won the Navistar LPGA Classic last September aged 16.
She also became only the fifth amateur to win on the LPGA Tour and first since JoAnne Carner in the 1969 Burdine’s Invitational.
It is believed to be the best finish a Kiwi on the LPGA Tour since Lynnette Brooky finished tied 12th at the US Open in 2002.
Her win comes 20 years after another famous New Zealand golf win in Vancouver when the team of Phil Tataurangi, Michael Campbell, Grant Moorhead and Stephen Scahill won the Eisenhower World Amateur Team’s Championship in 1992.
Ko has had a phenomenal year in 2012.
In January, she made international headlines when she won the New South Wales Open in Australia at 14 to become the youngest player to win a professional tour event. Before that she was the youngest champion of the Australian Amateur.
Just two weeks ago she was the first New Zealand player to win the US Amateur and the second youngest in history.
In any other year, Ko would likely be a shoo-in for the Sportswoman of the year at the Halberg Awards in 2013 but will face tough competition from Olympic gold medalists Lisa Carrington and Valerie Adams.
Regardless, Ko has achieved something no other New Zealand golfer has. She will always be the first Kiwi golfer to win on the LPGA Tour and for now is the youngest champion in the tour’s 62 year history.
Source – NZ Golf