Lydia Ko didn’t blink, didn’t flinch and didn’t waver in the least on her way to making history Sunday at the CN Canadian Women’s Open.
Ko pulled off a remarkable feat, becoming the youngest winner in LPGA history at 15 years, 4 months and 2 days old, but the way she won made it doubly so.
Ko blew away all her more seasoned challengers with a brilliant back-nine blitz to become the first amateur in 43 years to win an LPGA event. The $300,000 winner's purse went to runner-up Inbee Park.
Making the turn tied for the lead with Chella Choi, Ko took command with birdies at the 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th holes.
With a 5-under-par 67 that equaled the low round of the day, Ko won by three shots, even with a closing bogey, over Park.
“This means a lot,” Ko said. “I just came to make the cut and play my best, and I won, and I’m going to get the trophy. It’s amazing.”
A year after Lexi Thompson became the youngest winner of an LPGA event at 16, Ko makes Thompson look old. Ko is 15 months younger than Thompson was when she set the LPGA record last year.
Ko is the first amateur to win an LPGA event since JoAnne Carner won the Burdine’s Invitational in 1969. Ko, who was born in South Korea but moved to New Zealand at 6, is enjoying a whirlwind of success this summer. She won the U.S. Women’s Amateur two weeks ago. She was the low amateur at the U.S. Open last month. She won the New South Wales Open in Australia back in January when she was still 14, becoming the youngest winner of any professional event (a record since broken by 14-year-old Brooke Henderson in a Canadian Women's Tour event).
Back at her Palm Beach, Fla., home, Carner marveled watching Ko win on television.
“When I was 15, I was trying to win the Seattle City amateur championship,” Carner said. “I like how steady she is. She didn't play like she was 15. She played like somebody who has a lot of experience. I like the way she can let it go with her driver. When she needs 20 extra yards, she can do it, but she also has such control. She is impressive.”
Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.