Fourteen years-old and winning professional golf titles? It scarcely seems believable, but Lydia Ko still took the New South Wales Open on Sunday. And she didn’t squeeze ahead over the finish line – the South Korea-born New Zealander finished four strokes ahead of the field.
She finished 14-under for the tournament, ahead of trailing British pair Becky Morgan and Laura Davies, shooting a 3-under par 69 in the final round. The previous holder of the record for youngest golf tour winner was Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa, who was four months short of 16.
Ko left Seoul with her family in 2003 to New Zealand, and the Auckland resident was thoroughly delighted with the title.
“To be part of history is like a miracle,” Ko said. “It’s not something you can have by clicking your fingers.” “My driver and iron play were probably the nicest to me over the past two days. I also putted well, but I was in good position on most of the greens because I was able to make approaches from good places on the fairways.”
Next comes the Australian Open in Melbourne from February 9-12. This season, the tournament kicks off the LPGA tour and presents a tough challenge for Ko, the leading amateur in the world. Last year, she finished in 12th.
Despite her new-found stardom, she says that she isn’t expecting a higher finish this time.
"Playing an LPGA event, that's got to be pretty cool," she told reporters. "Six of the top 10 girls on the LPGA rankings are coming so it will be a great tournament. My goal is to make the cut and if I don't I'll stay and watch the top girls and see what I need to do to improve."