It's Ko's show in Canada
BY Bruce Young | LPGA Tour | 2012 Canadian Women's Open | Wrap | 27 Aug 2012
15 year old New Zealander Lydia Ko is no stranger to creating milestones. Earlier this year she became the youngest player of either gender to win a professional golf tournament when she won the NSW Women’s Open but throughout her meteoric rise to the top of the amateur game she has continually set age records.
Today she created what might be her most significant milestone when she defeated the game’s best female golfers to win the LPGA Tour’s CN Canadian Open by three shots, becoming the youngest player in history (by 16 months) to win an LPGA Tour event.
Ko also became the first amateur in 43 years to win an LPGA Tour event. The victory comes on top of a North American campaign that has seen her win the US Women’s Amateur Championship and finish as the leading amateur at the US Women’s Open.
“I still think the U.S. Amateur means a lot, even though it’s a great honor to win this,” she said when aked to compare this to her US Amateur win. “Yeah, the U.S. Amateur ‑‑ like I didn’t cry after this one. But that one I did cry. And I think, yeah, to me, U.S. Amateur is a big event, and obviously this event is huge as well, but still, as an amateur winning one of the biggest amateur events, I feel like it was a better win, even though this was so awesome.”
Ko’s victory has seen her jump 140 places to the number 45 position in the women’s game but clearly she is a lot higher than that in real terms.
Not only was it the fact that Ko won it was the manner of her victory, leading at the completion of the second third and final rounds and headed only by world number one Yani Tseng and the number four Na Yeon Choi after the opening round.
Ko took a one shot lead over Stacy Lewis, Inbee Park, Na Yeon Choi and Chella Cho into today’s final round but any suggestion the occasion might get too much for her was quickly dispelled when she birdied two of her first six holes to extend her lead.
It would be five birdies in the opening six holes of the back nine however that gave her the cushion to enjoy her walk to victory over the closing few holes. Her margin by then was five and despite a bogey at the last she had won by three over Inbee Park with Na Yeon Choi, Chella Choi and Jiyai Shin two shots back sharing third position.
Ko will now play the Women’s British Open in two weeks time followed a few weeks later by her role as the spearhead for the New Zealand Women’s team at the World Amateur Championship in Turkey.
Her victory also qualifies her for the CME Group titleholders event in Florida in mid February although there has been no indication as yet as to whether she will take her place in that field.
“I didn’t know that,” she said when asked about playing that event. “I’m not sure. I mean like when I go back to New Zealand, which is like the 3rd of October, in two weeks I actually have an external Cambridge exam, so I’m going to be really studying a lot and put golf at the back. Yeah, I need to pass my exams and get good results for that. So I’m not sure. It just depends, and also, I need to go to school and stay in New Zealand sometime. And always November and December has always been my prep time for January, February and March because I do a lot of tournaments over in Australia.”
“I actually purposely looked on 17 so I could see where I was positioned, " said Ko when asked about her awareness of the lead. "I saw there was actually like four, five shots gap, so I kind of tried to play the 18th quite relaxed, and everything went straight, but my adrenaline got to me and it went way past the green,” she said. “(But) then I won. That’s the most important part for me.
“I’ll still remain an amateur and then finish high school and then go to college in the States. I mean this is a great win, but I don’t think this will affect me changing my roots to my career.”
Karrie Webb and Katherine Hull finished as the leading Australians in 26th position but they and the rest of the quality field were upstaged by one of the most exciting prospects golf has seen for many years, either male or female.
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