Kiwi Ko becomes youngest LPGA winner at 15
VANCOUVER, Canada - Agence France-Presse
Lydia Ko hits a shot on the 15th fairway on her way to victory during the Canadian Women’s Open. AFP photo
New Zealand’s Lydia Ko became the youngest champion in the history of the LPGA Tour on Sunday by firing a five-under-par 67 to capture the Canadian Women’s Open by three strokes.
South Korean-born Ko finished the 72 holes on 13-under-par 275 at the Vancouver Golf Club course to beat Park Inbee by three shots.
“I just came to make the cut and play the best,” said Ko, 15. “I won and I’m going to get the trophy, and it’s amazing.”
The fifth amateur winner, Ko is also the first since JoAnne Carner captured the Burdine’s Invitational in 1969.
Ko is 16 months younger than Lexi Thompson, who held the previous age record at 16 years, eight months. Thompson set the mark when she won the Navistar Classic last year.
Ko was born 11 days after Tiger Woods won his first Masters in 1997.
She finished five strokes ahead of South Koreans Choi Na-yeon, Shin Ji-yai and Chella Choi, who finished in a tie for third place at eight-under 280.
Earlier this year, Ko won the New South Wales Open in Australia at 14 to become the youngest player to win a professional tour event. Ko also won the U.S. Women’s Amateur two weeks ago in Ohio.
Ko pulled away with birdies on five of the first six holes on the back nine.
No share of $300,000 first-place prize money
Because she is still an amateur, Ko does not get to collect the $300,000 in first-place prize money.
Asked what she would do with the money if she could keep it, Ko said she would buy a dog.
“I have always wanted a dog, but we don’t have anyone to care for it,” Ko said. “So maybe I would use it to get a dog.” She said she would also donate half of any windfall to “people who are in need of money.”
There are no immediate plans for Ko to turn professional. She wants to finish high school, then play college golf first.
“I’ve come to realize it doesn’t matter,” she said. “When I turn pro, I’ll get the money, so... hopefully I’ll get many wins.”