DALY CITY, Calif. – Lydia Ko was serenaded Friday by fans singing “Happy Birthday” when she started and ended her second round.
She heard birthday well-wishes from start to finish and was even presented a birthday cake coming off the final green.
Her 18th birthday was a big deal at the Swinging Skirts Classic.
“Really cool to share that birthday with a lot of people out here,” Ko said.
The most accomplished teen phenom in the history of women’s golf officially shed her status as a juvenile and legally became an adult. While she loved the iPhone 6 Plus her mother gave her as a birthday present, Ko kept herself in the hunt for a larger prize this weekend. With an even-par 72, she didn’t maintain her first-round lead, but she left herself in position to make a run at defending the title she won here last year. She’s four shots behind Brooke Henderson.
“I really didn't get anything going,” Ko said. “When that happens, it's really hard. I would say the par-5s, you kind of need to take advantage of them. I didn't position myself well in any of them, and that just makes it tough. Kind of feel like you're already losing shots there.”
Ko made one birdie and one bogey, and the birdie didn’t come on a par-5.
“Putts weren’t really rolling in,” Ko said.
Ko left Lake Merced to quietly celebrate her birthday over a Korean barbecue dinner with family and friends.
“I always say, presents are a good thing,” Ko said.
She was asked what she most looked forward to about becoming a legal adult.
“Not really much difference when I'm over in the states,” she said. “Everything is legal when I'm 18 back at home [in New Zealand], opens up some fun times in the off‑season.”