WAGR number one becomes youngest ever pro event winner

Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) number one Lydia Ko has become the youngest ever winner of a professional tour event.

The 14-year-old, who became the youngest winner of the Australian Women’s Amateur just last week, followed that triumph with a four shot victory in the women’s New South Wales Open yesterday (Sunday).

Ko, who has been WAGR number one for 40 weeks, broke the overall record held by Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa of 15 years, 245 days, and the women’s record of 16 years, 192 days, held by Australia’s Amy Yang in winning the Australian Ladies Masters in 2006.

“It’s pretty amazing, I don’t really know what to say,” said Ko. “I’m really happy and to be part of history is like a miracle. It’s not something you can have by clicking your fingers.”

The South Korean-born New Zealander finished the tournament on 14-under after a three-under-par 69 in the final round. She narrowly missed creating history at the same event last year when she just missed a four-foot par putt on the final green to force a play-off.

Ko added: “It was really nerve-wracking. I had a few deep breaths out there. I was nervous until the last second. [I was] thinking of last year and I looked back and there were so many people watching.”

She burst onto the international stage at the age of 12 when she finished leading amateur in the 2010 Pegasus New Zealand Women’s Open. She tied for seventh, and in the process became the youngest woman to make the cut in a Ladies European Tour event.

It’s been onwards and upwards ever since for the exciting young member of the NZ Srixon Academy who enjoyed an impressive 2011.

Highlights include becoming the first player to win both the Australian Ladies Stroke Play and New Zealand Ladies’ Stroke Play Championships in the same year. She also completed the double when she won the New Zealand Ladies’ Match Play Championship.

A pupil at Pinehurst School, Auckland, Ko became world number one at the age of 14 and one day and was the first ever recipient of the Mark H McCormack Medal presented to the leading amateur player at the end of the golfing year.

She has started 2012 in the same vein, finishing second in the Australian Women’s Stroke Play Championship along with her two victories. Ko, who plans to play around 30 tournaments this year, has two more professional outings planned over the next fortnight at the Australian Masters and the LPGA’s Australian Open.