Move over, Lexi Thompson. On Sunday, 14-year-old New Zealand amateur golfer Lydia Ko became the youngest player ever to win a professional golf tour contest when she captured the New South Wales Open by four shots.
The world’s leading amateur, Ko smashed the previous record that Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa set when he earned the Japan Tour’s 2007 Munsingwear Open KSB Cup at 15 and eight months. While Thompson holds the record as the youngest golfer to win an LPGA Tour event, which she did at 16 years, seven months, and eight days, Ko’s name goes in the record books ahead of Amy Yang, who was 16 years, 192 days old when she won the Australian Ladies Masters in 2006.
“To be part of history is like a miracle,” Ko, who lost the Wales tourney and the record by one stroke last year, told the Associated Press. “It’s not something you can have by clicking your fingers.”
Ko’s final-round, 3-under 69 was good enough to hold off Becky Morgan of Wales in the 54-hole competition. She is slated to play some 30 events this year, including potential head-to-head match-ups with Thompson at next week’s Australian Ladies Masters at Royal Pines and the LPGA’s first event of the season, the Women’s Australian Open at Royal Melbourne Golf Club the following week.
Thompson, who turned pro after leading her 2010 U.S. Curtis Cup team to victory at Massachusetts’ Essex County Club, became the youngest golfer by almost or more than two years — depending on your perspective — to win an LPGA event when she delivered the 2011 Navistar LPGA Classic for her first tour triumph. Marlene Hagge was 18 years and 14 days old when she won the 18-hole Sarasota Open in 1952. Thompson bettered by two years, two months, Paula Creamer’s age when the latter captured the multiple-round 2005 Sybase Classic.
Ko, who moved from South Korea to New Zealand with her family in 2003, counts the soon-to-be 17-year-old Thompson (she’ll celebrate her February 10 birthday during the Aussie Open) as one of her role models, according to the AP.