At the ripe old age of five years old, most young girls are starting kindergarten and playing with Barbie’s, but not Ko, she was swinging golf clubs. Now seventeen years old, Ko is one of the most intriguing golfers on the LPGA Tour. The one thing that is on most teenage girls minds is usually “boys” but, Lydia worries about when her next win will be.
In 2012, Ko conquered the CN Canadian Women’s Open as an amateur and non-member. She followed that up by defending her title the very next year in 2013 at the same tournament. Ko is from Seoul, South Korea, but now resides in North Harbour, New Zealand and turned pro late in 2013.
Only two months after turning pro she scored her first win in the Swinging Skirts World Ladies Masters on the Korean Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour. Ko played in 16 LPGA Tour events in the 2012 and 2013 seasons and has never missed a cut. She was granted a full membership from the LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan. She finally picked up her first LPGA victory at the 2014 Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic in San Francisco, CA, just three days after her 17th birthday. She was the fifth amateur winner in LPGA history and first since 1967. Ko also was the first amateur to win the event twice. At the pace Ko is winning I think she will be winning a lot of major’s very soon.
In April 2014, Ko was named as one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People. If you don’t catch Ko on the golf course you can usually find her curled up with a good book or out at the movies with friends.
Highlights as an Amateur
- Won four professional tournaments in her amateur career (2012 CN Canadian Women’s Open & 2013 CN Canadian Women’s Open (LPGA), and 2012 Bing Lee Samsung Women’s NSW Open (ALPG)
- Became the youngest winner in Ladies European Tour (LET) history on Feb. 10, 2013 at the 54-hole ISPS Honda Women’s New Zealand Open
- Became the youngest winner in LPGA history on Aug. 19, 2012 at the 72-hole CN Canadian Women’s Open at the age of 15 years, 4 months, 2 days
- In the 2012 and 2013 seasons, earned low amateur honors at six LPGA Tour major championships
- Won the 2012 U.S. Women’s Amateur (second youngest winner in history) and Australian Women’s Amateur; medalist at the World Amateur Team Championship in Turkey.
- Won the 2011 Australian Women’s Amateur Stroke play, New Zealand Women’s Amateur Stroke play, New Zealand Women’s Amateur Match Play
Highlights in 2013
- 12 events, 12 cuts made, 1 victory, 5 additional top-10 finishes
- Earned her second-career victory when she defended her title at the CN Canadian Women’s Open
Highlights in 2014
- Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic winner
- Marathon Classic winner
Ko credits her parents as the individuals most prompting her career. Lydia Ko has been one of the most dominant women golfers in recent years. She is a household name in golfing circles around the world. The fact that she is still a teenager makes her progress and achievements even much more spectacular. When you consider Lydia’s statistics as an amateur it makes an impressive read and should set her up for a long and successful professional career.
With the type of domination that Ko has been playing with at such a young age, it is clear that the rest of the LPGA Tour players better step up their game. No one can say for certain that a “new guard” of young players are coming in to push the older ones out, but if Lydia Ko is an indication of what we can expect in the future, the LPGA has a bright future ahead.