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Ko on LPGA youth dominance: 'Age just a number'

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SAMMAMISH, Wash. – Even Lydia Ko is amazed at how young the winners of LPGA events are this year.

Before Anna Nordqvist won the ShopRite Classic last week, no player older than 23 had hoisted a trophy this LPGA season. After winning ShopRite, Nordqvist was informed that she was five years older than any other LPGA winner this year.

“Thanks for making me feel old,” Nordqvist tweeted.

At 28 years, 11 months and 26 days old, Nordqvist isn’t old, but she still skewed the age of the average winner this year. Now, this season’s average winner is 21.5 years old.

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The average age of the top five players in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings is 21.6 years old.

The LPGA hasn’t suddenly become young, but it’s suddenly become younger than it’s ever been at the top of the game. Two of the top five players in the world are teenagers with Ko 19 and Brooke Henderson 18.

“Pretty amazing,” Ko said. “I can't believe it. But when we're out there, we're not thinking about if I'm 19 or if somebody's 37 or whatever. We're all out there trying to play the best we can and make as many birdies as we can. I think that's the great thing about golf, that age is just a number. Obviously, experience is a whole different thing, and if you have experience, it can help you, especially down the stretch where you're leading or you're in a pressure position.”

At 15, Ko became the youngest winner of an LPGA title. At 17, she became the youngest player ever to hold the No. 1 world ranking in professional golf. At 18, she became the youngest winner of a women’s major. She’s bidding to win her third major at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship this week.