Lydia Ko

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Lydia Ko
— Golfer —
2013 Women's British Open – Lydia Ko (1).jpg
Personal information
Full name Bo-Gyung "Lydia" Ko
Nickname Lyds[1]
Born (1997-04-24) 24 April 1997 (age 25)
Seoul, South Korea
Height 5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)
Nationality  New Zealand
Residence North Harbour, New Zealand
Career
College Korea University
Turned professional 2013
Current tour(s) LPGA Tour
Professional wins 17
Number of wins by tour
LPGA Tour 12
Ladies European Tour 5
LPGA of Korea Tour 1
ALPG Tour 5
Best results in LPGA major championships
(wins: 2)
ANA Inspiration Won: 2016
Women's PGA C'ship 3rd: 2014
U.S. Women's Open T12: 2015
Women's British Open T3: 2015
Evian Championship Won: 2015
Achievements and awards
Mark H. McCormack Medal 2011, 2012, 2013
Halberg Supreme Award 2013
New Zealand
Sportswoman of the Year
2013, 2014, 2015
LPGA Rookie of the Year 2014
LPGA Player of the Year 2015
LPGA Tour
Money Winner
2015
Best Female Golfer
ESPY Award
2015
Lydia Ko
Hangul 고보경
Hanja 高寶璟
Revised Romanization Go Bogyeong
McCune–Reischauer Ko Po-kyŏng

Lydia Ko (born 24 April 1997) is a New Zealand female professional golfer who became the No. 1 ranked woman professional golfer on 2 February 2015 at 17 years 9 months 8 days of age, making her the youngest player of either sex to be ranked No. 1 in professional golf.[2][3] On winning The Evian Championship in France on the 13 September 2015, she became the youngest woman, at age 18 years, 4 months and 20 days, to win a major championship. Her closing round of 63 was a record lowest final round in the history of women's golf majors.[4] On 3 April 2016, she won the ANA Inspiration, where she also became the youngest player to win two women's major championships.

She had been the top-ranked woman amateur golfer in the world for 130 weeks[5] when she announced she was turning professional on 23 October 2013. She became the youngest person ever to win a professional golf tour event[6] and youngest person ever to win an LPGA Tour event.[7] In August 2013, she became the only amateur to win two LPGA Tour events.[8] As an amateur she never missed a cut in 25 professional tournaments,[9] and by September 2013 had risen to fifth in the Women's World Golf Rankings in only 23 professional tournaments.[9] Ko played her first LPGA Tour event on 9 February 2012 (14 years, 9 months, 16 days) and made the cut in her first 53 LPGA Tour events through 4 June 2015 (18 years, 1 month, 11 days).

On 23 April 2014, one day before her 17th birthday, Ko was named as one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people.[10] The same month she advanced to No. 2 woman professional golfer in the world when she won the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic.[11]

On 22 November 2015, Ko won the LPGA Rolex Player of the Year Award by two points over Inbee Park, making her the youngest winner in the 49 years of the award.[12]

In both 2014[13] and 2015,[14] Ko has been named in the EspnW Impact25 list of twenty-five athletes and influencers who have made the greatest impact for women in sports.

In 2016, Ko was named Young New Zealander of the Year in the annual New Zealander of the Year Awards.[15]

Early life and education

Born in Seoul, South Korea, she emigrated with her family to New Zealand as an infant and gained citizenship at age 12.[16] Ko was educated at Pinehurst School in Albany, New Zealand, and when she joined the tour she took correspondence classes with Pinehurst.[17][18] Starting in 2015 Ko said she would study psychology extramurally with Korea University, Seoul. The Yonhap news agency reported her as saying "I'll have to listen to what the university says to decide how I will do my studies. I'll have to make sure I submit the required papers and projects as the majority of my classes will be done online."[19]

Early golf career

Ko began playing golf as a five-year-old when her mother took her into a pro shop at the Pupuke Golf Club[20] on Auckland's North Shore owned by professional Guy Wilson who coached her until 22 December 2013.[20][21] Ko was a seven-year-old in March 2005 when she first came to the attention of the media, for competing in the New Zealand national amateur championships.[22]

2012 Women's NSW Open

On 29 January 2012, Ko became the youngest person ever to win a professional golf tour event by winning the Bing Lee/Samsung Women's NSW Open on the ALPG Tour.[6] She was 14 at the time, and had placed second in the event the year before. The previous youngest person ever to win a professional golf tour event was Japan's Ryo Ishikawa at age 15 years and 8 months.[23][24] Her record as the youngest winner of a professional event was broken later in 2012 by 14-year-old Canadian Brooke Henderson, who won the second event on that year's Canadian Women's Tour on 13 June.[25][26]

2012 and 2013 CN Canadian Women's Open

On 26 August 2012, at the age of 15 years and four months, Ko became the youngest-ever winner of an LPGA Tour event, winning with a score of 275 (−13) at the CN Canadian Women's Open. She surpassed the record set by Lexi Thompson at 16 years and seven months in September 2011. Her win also made her only the fifth amateur to have won an LPGA Tour event, and the first in over 43 years.[27] The 2012 CN Canadian Women's Open was a 72-hole event with a purse of $2 million; the winner's share of $300,000 went to runner-up Inbee Park who was three strokes back.[28]

Ko successfully defended her win at the 2013 CN Canadian Open, shooting 265 (−15) for a five-stroke victory over Karine Icher at the Royal Mayfair Club in Edmonton. The $300,000 winner's share went to Icher.

Professional career

After finishing runner-up to Suzann Pettersen in The Evian Championship in France, Ko announced that she would turn pro in 2014.[9] However, on 23 October 2013, Ko stated in a YouTube video featuring New Zealand rugby player Israel Dagg that she was turning professional immediately and would play her first professional tournament in Florida in mid-November.[29] She finished tied for 21st in her pro debut at the 2013 CME Group Titleholders.

In October 2013, the LPGA Tour granted Ko's request to join the LPGA, waiving the Tour's requirement of members being at least 18 years old. "It is not often that the LPGA welcomes a rookie who is already a back-to-back LPGA Tour champion," tour commissioner Mike Whan said when he granted Ko's request.[30]

On 27 April 2014, Ko earned her first LPGA Tour win as a professional and her first win on U.S. soil, by winning the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic. She celebrated her 17th birthday during this tournament. In July, she won her second tournament of the year, the Marathon Classic. In November 2014, Ko won her third tournament of the season, the season ending CME Group Tour Championship. She won the LPGA Rookie of the Year.[31] Ko commemorated the occasion with the inscription "IV-XXVII-XIV," (4-27-14 in Roman numerals), on her right wrist.[32]

On 2 February 2015, Ko became the No. 1 ranked woman professional golfer after a runner-up finish at the Coates Golf Championship, overtaking Inbee Park. On 22 February 2015, Ko won her first event of the 2015 LPGA Tour season at the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open. The win was her sixth on the LPGA Tour, and her ninth victory overall. The following week, Ko returned home and won her tenth professional championship at the ISPS Handa New Zealand Women's Open.[33] The victory in this tournament was her second of the 2015 season, the win was also her third on the Ladies European Tour, and fourth with ALPG Tour. Highlighted in her victory at New Zealand was her LET low-round tying and course record 61 during the second round.

At the first major of the 2015 season, the ANA Inspiration, she shot a 1-under-par 71 in the first round on 2 April, tying her with Annika Sörenstam for the all-time LPGA record for consecutive rounds under par, at 29.[34] Three weeks later, Ko would win her second LPGA Tour event of the 2015 season, when she beat Morgan Pressel in a playoff to win the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic. She would defeat Pressel with birdie on the second playoff hole. The victory was her seventh overall on tour, and her second win at the event in as many years. Her win was also her third win worldwide in 2015. The victory would be the second time she has defended a championship on tour. The playoff win was also her second on tour, bringing her playoff record to 2-0.[35] Ko would go on to miss the cut at the 2015 KPMG Women's PGA Championship. The missed cut would be her first in her fourteen major championship appearances. She would find solid success in her next two major championships with a T12 finish at the 2015 U.S. Women's Open, and a T3 finish at the 2015 Ricoh Women's British Open.

On 23 August 2015, Ko won her third Canadian Pacific Women's Open in a playoff against Stacy Lewis. Ko defeated Lewis, with par on the first hole of the playoff. The victory was the eighth for Ko on the LPGA Tour, and the third of the 2015 season, and fourth win worldwide for Ko in 2015. The playoff victory was also her third win in such circumstances, and would bring her career LPGA playoff record to 3–0.[36]

On 13 September 2015, Ko won the fifth and final major on the 2015 LPGA calendar, the 2015 Evian Championship.[37] She dominated the final round with eight birdies, winning by six shots over second-place finisher Lexi Thompson. Her 63 was the lowest-ever closing round score in a women's major championship. It was Ko's fourth win on the LPGA Tour in 2015, ninth on the LPGA Tour overall and fourth on the Ladies European Tour. Ko's victory also made her the youngest major champion in the history of the LPGA Tour and the youngest major champion in golf since Young Tom Morris, when he won the 1868 Open Championship.[38]

On 26 October 2015, became the youngest player to win 10 events on a major tour at age 18 years, 6 months and 2 days surpassing Horton Smith who set the PGA Tour mark of 21 years, 7 months in 1929, and Nancy Lopez who set the previous LPGA Tour record in 1979 at 22 years, 2 months, 5 days.[39]

2016

Ko's 2016 started where she left off from 2015, winning the ISPS Handa New Zealand Women's Open for a third time in four years by two shots from Hye Jin Choi, Felicity Johnson, and Nanna Koerstz Madsen. Just 11 minutes before she was due to tee off for her final round, an earthquake struck, with Ko vowing to donate her prize money to charity to help those affected.[40]

On 3 April, Ko made it consecutive major titles with a one-shot victory at the ANA Inspiration. The win strengthened her position as No. 1 in the world as she became the youngest double major winner in the history of the game since Young Tom Morris in 1869.[41]

Amateur wins (6)

Professional wins (17)

LPGA Tour wins (12)

Legend
Major championships (2)
Other LPGA Tour (10)
No. Date Tournament Winning score To par Margin of
victory
Runner(s)-up
1 26 Aug 2012 CN Canadian Women's Open[1] 68-68-72-67=275 −13 3 strokes South Korea Inbee Park
2 25 Aug 2013 CN Canadian Women's Open[1] (2) 65-69-67-64=265 −15 5 strokes France Karine Icher
3 27 Apr 2014 Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic 68-71-68-69=276 −12 1 stroke United States Stacy Lewis
4 20 Jul 2014 Marathon Classic 67-67-70-65=269 −15 1 stroke South Korea Ryu So-yeon
5 23 Nov 2014 CME Group Tour Championship 71-71-68-68=278 −10 Playoff Spain Carlota Ciganda
Paraguay Julieta Granada
6 22 Feb 2015 ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open[2][3] 70-70-72-71=283 −9 2 strokes South Korea Amy Yang
7 26 Apr 2015 Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic (2) 67-72-71-70=280 −8 Playoff United States Morgan Pressel
8 23 Aug 2015 Canadian Pacific Women's Open (3) 67-68-69-72=276 −12 Playoff United States Stacy Lewis
9 13 Sep 2015 The Evian Championship[2] 69-69-67-63=268 −16 6 strokes United States Lexi Thompson
10 25 Oct 2015 Fubon LPGA Taiwan Championship 69-67-67-65=268 −20 9 strokes South Korea Ji Eun-hee
South Korea Ryu So-yeon
11 27 Mar 2016 Kia Classic 68-67-67-67=269 −19 4 strokes South Korea Inbee Park
12 3 Apr 2016 ANA Inspiration 70-68-69-69=276 −12 1 stroke South Korea Chun In-gee
England Charley Hull

1 Ko won the 2012 and 2013 CN Canadian Women's Opens as an amateur.
2 Co-sanctioned by the Ladies European Tour.
3 Co-sanctioned by the ALPG Tour.

LPGA Tour playoff record (3–0)

No. Year Tournament Opponent(s) Result
1 2014 CME Group Tour Championship Spain Carlota Ciganda
Paraguay Julieta Granada
Won with par on fourth extra hole
Granada eliminated with par on second hole
2 2015 Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic United States Morgan Pressel Won with birdie on second extra hole
3 2015 Canadian Pacific Women's Open United States Stacy Lewis Won with par on first extra hole

Ladies European Tour wins (5)

No. Date Tournament Winning score To par Margin of
victory
Runner(s)-up
1 10 Feb 2013 ISPS Handa New Zealand Women's Open[4][6] 70-68-68=206 −10 1 stroke United States Amelia Lewis
2 22 Feb 2015 ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open[5][6] 70-70-72-71=283 −9 2 strokes South Korea Amy Yang
3 1 Mar 2015 ISPS Handa New Zealand Women's Open[6] (2) 70-61-71=202 −14 4 strokes Australia Hannah Green (a)
4 13 Sep 2015 The Evian Championship[5] 69-69-67-63=268 −16 6 strokes United States Lexi Thompson
5 14 Feb 2016 ISPS Handa New Zealand Women's Open[6] (3) 69-67-70=206 −10 2 strokes South Korea Choi Hye-jin (a)
England Felicity Johnson
Denmark Nanna Koerstz Madsen

4 Ko won the 2013 ISPS Handa New Zealand Women's Open as an amateur.
5 Co-sanctioned by the LPGA Tour.
6 Co-sanctioned by the ALPG Tour.

ALPG Tour wins (5)

No. Date Tournament Winning score To par Margin of
victory
Runner(s)-up
1 29 Jan 2012 Bing Lee Samsung Women's NSW Open[7] 69-64-69=202 −14 4 strokes Wales Becky Morgan
2 10 Feb 2013 ISPS Handa New Zealand Women's Open[7][9] 70-68-68=206 −10 1 stroke United States Amelia Lewis
3 22 Feb 2015 ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open[8][9] 70-70-72-71=283 −9 2 strokes South Korea Amy Yang
4 1 Mar 2015 ISPS Handa New Zealand Women's Open[9] (2) 70-61-71=202 −14 4 strokes Australia Hannah Green (a)
5 14 Feb 2016 ISPS Handa New Zealand Women's Open[9] (3) 69-67-70=206 −10 2 strokes England Felicity Johnson
South Korea Choi Hye-jin (a)
Denmark Nanna Koerstz Madsen

7 Ko won the Bing Lee Samsung Women's NSW Open and the 2013 ISPS Handa New Zealand Women's Open as an amateur.
8 Co-sanctioned by the LPGA Tour.
9 Co-sanctioned by the Ladies European Tour.

KLPGA Tour wins (1)

No. Date Tournament Winning score To par Margin of
victory
Runner-up
1 8 Dec 2013 Swinging Skirts World Ladies Masters 68-68-69=205 −11 3 strokes South Korea Ryu So-yeon

Major championships

Wins (2)

Year Championship 54 holes Winning score Margin Runner(s)-up
2015 The Evian Championship 2 shot deficit −16 (69-69-67-63=268) 6 strokes United States Lexi Thompson
2016 ANA Inspiration 1 shot deficit −12 (70-68-69-69=276) 1 stroke England Charley Hull, South Korea Chun In-gee

Results timeline

Results not in chronological order before 2015.

Tournament 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
ANA Inspiration DNP T25LA T29 T51 1
Women's PGA Championship DNP T17LA 3 CUT
U.S. Women's Open T39LA T36 T15 T12
Women's British Open T17LA T42TLA T29 T3
The Evian Championship ^ 2LA T8 1

^ The Evian Championship was added as a major in 2013.
LA = Low amateur
DNP = did not play
CUT = missed the half-way cut
T = tied
Green background for wins. Yellow background for top-10.

Summary

Tournament Wins 2nd 3rd Top-5 Top-10 Top-25 Events Cuts made
ANA Inspiration 1 0 0 1 1 2 4 4
Women's PGA Championship 0 0 1 1 1 2 3 2
U.S. Women's Open 0 0 0 0 0 2 4 4
Women's British Open 0 0 1 1 1 2 4 4
The Evian Championship 1 1 0 2 3 3 3 3
Totals 2 1 2 5 6 11 18 17
  • Most consecutive cuts made – 13 (2012 U.S. Open – 2015 ANA)
  • Longest streak of top-10s – 3 (2015 British – 2016 ANA, current)

LPGA Tour career summary

Year Tournaments
played
Cuts
made*
Wins 2nd 3rd Top 10s Best
finish
Earnings
($)
Money
list rank
Scoring
average
Scoring
rank
2012 4 4 1 0 0 1 1 0 n/a 72.94 n/a
2013 12 12 1 1 1 6 1 16,063 n/a 70.41 n/a
2014 26 26 3 2 3 15 1 2,089,033 3 70.08 5
2015 24 23 5 3 3 17 1 2,800,802 1 69.44 2
2016 10 10 2 2 1 6 1 1,102,829 1 69.48 2
Totals 76 75 12 8 8 45 1 5,992,664 37 69.99
  • official through 30 May 2016[48]

* Includes matchplay and other events without a cut.
* Ko turned professional on 23 October 2013 but was not a member of the LPGA Tour. Money earned in 2013 was not considered official by the LPGA Tour.

World ranking

Position in Women's World Golf Rankings at the end of each calendar year.

Year World
ranking
Avg.
pts.
No. of
events
Source
2010 549 0.04 1 [49]
2011 295 0.37 4 [50]
2012 43 2.43 12 [51]
2013 4 7.48 25 [52]
2014 2 9.80 43 [53]
2015 1 11.78 53 [54]
  • 2 February 2015, Ko first ascended to the world #1 ranking.[55]
  • As of 25 April 2016, has been ranked #1 for 27 consecutive weeks and 46 total weeks.
  • 4 April 2016, Ko hit her highest point average of 14.28.[56]

Golf records

  • On 29 January 2012, became the youngest person to ever win a professional golf tour event (New South Wales Women's Open) at age 14 years, 9 months and 5 days.
  • On 26 August 2012, became the youngest winner of an LPGA Tour event (Canadian Women's Open) at age 15 years, 4 months and 2 days
  • On 10 February 2013, became the youngest winner of a Ladies European Tour event (ISPS Handa NZ Women's Open) at age 15 years, 9 months and 17 days.
  • On 25 August 2013, became the youngest and only amateur to win two LPGA Tour events – age 15 and 16 (2012 and 2013 Canadian Women's Open)
  • On 20 July 2014, became the youngest millionaire ever on the LPGA in her first full season as a pro when she won the Marathon Classic taking her accumulated prize earnings to over US$1 million at age 17 years, 2 months and 26 days.
  • On 12 November 2014, became the youngest winner of the LPGA Rookie of the Year in LPGA history at age 17 years, 6 months and 19 days surpassing Laura Baugh who won her title at 18 years, 6 months and 28 days and held the "youngest" label for 41 years.
  • On 23 November 2014, became the youngest player to win 5 events on a major tour at age 17 years, 6 months and 30 days.
  • On 23 November 2014, became the youngest and first player to win the biggest payout in LPGA history, taking home US$1.5 million after capturing the tour’s season-ending event and winning the inaugural Race to the CME Globe at age 17 years, 6 months and 30 days.
  • On 23 November 2014, became the youngest and fastest player to surpass US$2 million in career earnings at age 17 years, 6 months and 30 days The previous record holder, Yani Tseng, accomplished this feat in 32 events. Lydia reached the US$2 million mark in just 26 events – the most ever made by a rookie; over US$3 million if include bonus prize of US$1 million for winning the Race to the CME Globe 2014 (CME Globe bonus prize does not count on player's LPGA official earnings)
  • On 23 November 2014, became the youngest rookie player to set an LPGA record for most money earned by a rookie at $2,089,033 at age 17 years, 6 months and 30 days – breaking Julieta Granada's 2006 mark of $1,633,586.
  • On 2 February 2015, became the youngest player of either gender to ever be ranked No. 1 in professional golf by both the Official World Golf Ranking and the Rolex World Golf Ranking at age 17 years, 9 months and 9 days, eclipsing Tiger Woods who was 21 years, 5 months and 15 days when he became men's world number one in 1997 and Jiyai Shin who was 22 years and 5 days when she became women's world number one in 2010.
  • On 22 February 2015, became the youngest winner of the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open title at age 17 years, 9 months and 29 days.
  • On 2 April 2015, tied Annika Sörenstam for the most consecutive rounds under-par in LPGA Tour events, at 29.
  • On 3 May 2015, became the youngest and fastest player to surpass US$3 million in career earnings at age 18 years and 9 days. The previous record holder, Yani Tseng, accomplished this feat in 53 events. Lydia reached the US$3 million mark in just 36 events.
  • On 15 July 2015, became the youngest winner of Best Female Golfer ESPY Award at age 18 years, 2 months and 21 days.
  • On 13 September 2015, became the youngest player in the "modern era" (post-1900) of either gender to win a major championship at The Evian Championship at age 18 years, 4 months and 20 days[57] surpassing Johnny McDermott who was 19 years, 9 months and 14 days when he won his PGA major in 1911 and Morgan Pressel who was 18 years, 10 months and 9 days when she won her LPGA major in 2007.
  • On 13 September 2015, her closing round of 63 in the Evian was the record lowest final round in the history of women's golf majors.[4]
  • On 13 September 2015, became the youngest and fastest player to surpass US$4 million career earnings at age 18 years, 4 months and 20 days after winning her first major at the Evian Championship. The previous record holder, Yani Tseng, accomplished this feat in 65 events. Lydia reached the US$4 million mark in just 45 events.
  • On 26 October 2015, became the youngest player to win 10 events on a major tour at age 18 years, 6 months and 2 days surpassing Horton Smith who set the PGA Tour mark of 21 years, 7 months in 1929, and Nancy Lopez who set the previous LPGA Tour record in 1979 at 22 years, 2 months, 5 days.[39]
  • On 22 November 2015, became the youngest winner of the LPGA Top Ten Finishes with 17 top ten finishes in 24 events (71%), at age 18 years, 6 months and 29 days.
  • On 22 November 2015, became the youngest winner of the LPGA Official Money List at age 18 years, 6 months and 29 days.
  • On 22 November 2015, became the youngest winner of the LPGA Player of the Year in the 49 years history of the award at age 18 years, 6 months and 29 days, surpassing Nancy Lopez who won her title at age 21 years, 10 months and 6 days and held the "youngest" title for 37 years.
  • On 22 November 2015, became the youngest MVP/Player of the Year ever across all four major sports and the LPGA/PGA Tour: LPGA - Lydia Ko (18); PGA - Tiger Woods (21); NHL - Wayne Gretzky (19); NFL - Jim Brown (21); NBA - Derrick Rose(22); MLB - Stan Musial, Johnny Bench, Vida Blue (22)
  • On 28 December 2015, became the youngest year-end #1 in Rolex Rankings history at age 18 years, 8 months and 4 days.
  • On 21 February 2016, became the youngest and fastest player to surpass US$5 million career earnings at age 18 years, 9 months and 28 days after finishing second in the Women's Australian Open. The previous record holder, Yani Tseng, accomplished this feat in 76 events. Lydia reached the US$5 million mark in just 52 events.
  • On 3 April 2016, became the youngest player in the "modern era" (post-1900) of either gender to win 2 major championships at the ANA Inspiration at age 18 years, 11 months and 10 days, surpassing Gene Sarazen who was 20 years, 5 months and 22 days when he won his second PGA major in 1922 and Se Ri Pak who was 20 years, 9 months and 8 days when she won her second LPGA major in 1998.
  • On 3 April 2016, became the first New Zealander to win 2 majors. The other New Zealanders who have won a major, Sir Bob Charles and Michael Campbell, have each won one.

See also

References

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External links

Awards
Preceded by
Inbee Park
World No. 1 Ranked Golfer
2 February 2015 – 14 June 2015
26 October 2015 – present
Succeeded by
Inbee Park
Incumbent
Preceded by
Valerie Adams
New Zealand's Sportswoman of the Year
2013, 2014, 2015
Incumbent
Preceded by
Hamish Bond and Eric Murray
Halberg awards – Supreme Award
2013
Succeeded by
Hamish Bond and Eric Murray
Preceded by
Jacko Gill
Halberg awards – Emerging Talent Award
2012
Succeeded by
Gabrielle Fa'amausili