Teen Ko takes historic top ranking
Lydia Ko of New Zealand watches her tee shot on the 11th hole at the Coates Golf Championship at the Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club. Getty Images/ AFP PhotoNew Zealand teen star Lydia Ko became golf's youngest-ever world number one Jan. 31 even though she only settled for a share of second at the season-opening LPGA Coates Championship.
The South Korean-born prodigy took the top spot at 17 years, nine months and seven days to eclipse the age marks of U.S. star Tiger Woods, who was 21 when he ascended to world number one for the first time in 1997, and South Korean Shin Ji-Yai, who was the youngest prior women's world number one at age 22 in 2010.
Ko squandered a four-stroke lead and struggled on the final holes to help South Korean Choi Na-Yeon capture the title on 16-under par 272 with Ko, American Jessica Korda and South Korean Jang Ha-Na sharing second on 273.
That was just enough for Ko to overtake Park In-Bee for the top ranking after the South Korean shared 13th on 284.
Ko fired a 71 on Jan. 31 while Choi fired a 68 in the final round, which was staged a day earlier than usual to avoid a last-day conflict with American football's Super Bowl.