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[Newsmaker] Korean-born teen makes history on LPGA Tour

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Published : 2012-08-27 20:45
Updated : 2012-08-27 20:45

A South Korean-born New Zealand teenager has written what might be the best golf story of the year.

Lydia Ko won the Canadian Women’s Open on Sunday to become the youngest player to ever win an LPGA Tour event.

The 15-year-old golf sensation also became the fifth amateur champion of the event.

She finished the 72 holes on 13-under-par 275 at the Vancouver Golf Club course to beat this year’s Evian Masters champion Park Inbee by 3 shots.

After Ko wrapped up her historic round, the World Golf Hall of Fame asked her to donate something. The glove she wore in the final round will be displayed in the World Golf Hall of Fame. 
Lydia Ko

The high-profile LPGA title came 15 years, four months and two days after her birth on April 24, 1997. She broke the youngest LPGA Tour champion record held by American Lexi Thompson, who set the mark when she won the Nabistar Classic in September last year at 16 years and eight months.

Ko is also the first amateur since Joanne Carner in 1969 to win a LPGA Tour event.

Ko left South Korea for New Zealand with her parents in 2003 at age 6. She made headlines in January by becoming the youngest-ever winner of a professional event as a 14-year-old at the New South Wales Open in Australia. Her triumph eclipsed the mark set by Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa, who was 15 years and eight months old when he won a tournament on the Japan Golf Tour.

On Aug. 13, Ko, the world’s top-ranked amateur, won the U.S. Amateur championship.

As an amateur, Ko is ineligible to collect the winner’s check of $300,000. Park, the 24-year-old runner-up, took home the money instead.

Ko is in grade 11 in New Zealand, where students graduate from high school after grade 13. According to news reports from Vancouver, college is in her plans now and she’d like to attend Stanford, from where LPGA Tour regular Michelle Wie recently graduated.

By Chun Sung-woo (swchun@heraldcorp.com)

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