World No.1 amateur Lydia Ko s incredible record in professional events will be put to the test this week when she plays in her third major at the Kraft Nabisco Championship on the LPGA Tour. The 15-year-old from the Gulf Harbour Country Club who wowed fans in Canberra at this year&aposs ISPS Handa Women&aposs Australian Open, is one of nine amateurs given a sponsor s exemption for the first major of the year at the Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California from April 4 7. Ko, who has climbed to World No.25 on the Official World Rankings, has never missed a cut in the 14 professional events she has played since making her debut in a pro event at the NZ Women’s Open in 2010. That in itself is a phenomenal achievement but if you add in the fact she has won three times, finished runner-up twice and third in world-class fields then her amateur record stands alone as one of the best ever seen in the game. The Pinehurst School Student is the youngest winner of a professional event (14 when she won the NSW Open in 2012), the youngest winner of a LPGA Tour event (15 when she won the Canadian Open in 2012) and the youngest winner of a LET Tour event when she won the ISPS Handa NZ Women’s Open in February. Now Ko gets a chance to be the youngest major winner of all time. She has a good record in major championships too. In 2012 she became the first Kiwi amateur to make the cut at the US Open when she finished in a share of 39th place to claim the amateur honours by one shot from American Emma Talley. She would have finished tied 18th if not for a poor finish where she dropped six shots in the final three holes. A few months later Ko managed testing conditions at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club to finish in a share of 17th place and leading amateur in her debut at the Open Championship. Ko, who no doubt is focusing on winning her first major championship, will face competition from the following players; Georgia Hall, Alison Lee, Doris Chen, Lindy Duncan, Camilla Hedberg, Isabelle Lendl, Stephanie Meadow and Ashlan Ramsey for the amateur honours.
Author: New Zealand Golf