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FEATURE ATHLETE: Golfer Lydia Ko

FEATURE ATHLETE: Golfer Lydia Ko

Lydia Ko (photo credit: cncanadianwomensopen.com)

~Ko Makes History With LPGA Win~
by Rick Woelfel (Special for WSENetwork.com)

It’s been a memorable year for Lydia Ko. She started off by winning the New South Wales Open, making her, at 14, the youngest golfer ever win a professional tournament.
In mid-August she put together an outstanding week of golf to win the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship.

All that was a prelude to the recent CN Canadian Women’s Open outside of Vancouver where she scored a three-shot win over a field that featured the top professionals in the world at the ripe old age of 15 years, 4 months, and 2 days.

Ko’s effort in Vancouver was historic on a number of fronts.
• She is the youngest player to win an LPGA tournament, upstaging Lexi Thompson, who won the 2011 Navistar Classic at the age of 16 years, 8 months, 8 days.
• She is the first amateur to win an LPGA event in 43 years, since JoAnne Carner captured the Burdine’s Invitational in Miami on January 19th, 1969. Ko is the fifth amateur to win an LPGA event in the organization’s 63-year history.

Ko was particularly impressive on the final day in Vancouver, carding a 5-under par 67 at Vancouver Golf Club to leave the field in her wake. Somehow, she maintained her focus.
“The first time I looked at the leaderboard I was on I think 17 or something,” she said. “Maybe I had a peak or anything. But I kind of looked at it because I wanted to become more relaxed, and today I said ‘I’ve got nothing to lose.’

Stacy Lewis, the second-ranked player in the world, played the final round with Ko.
“I was most impressed with just her demeanor,” Lewis said. “I mean you would have never known that it was the final round of an LPGA event. She played like she had been there before.”

Ko was born in Korea but she and her family emigrated to New Zealand in 2003 today she is a citizen of New Zealand, where she blossomed as a golfer.

Last year she won two major amateur events in New Zealand but the 2012 has been her coming out party.
Ko has no plans to turn professional any time soon, for now, she’ll have to settle for being the number-one female amateur in the world.

I just try to stay relaxed,” she said, “and I’m No. 1 in the world as an amateur, but I really don’t think about that. I just feel like I’m just an athlete playing or doing something that I really love.”

Amateurs to win an LPGA event
Lydia Ko, 2012 CN Canadian Women’s Open
JoAnne Carner, 1969 Burdine’s Invitational
Catherine LaCoste, 1967 U.S. Women’s Open
Pat O’Sullivan, 1951 Titleholders Championship
Polly Riley, 1950 Tampa Open

Related article:    GOLF: 15-year-old Lydia Ko Makes LPGA History

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