Lydia Ko Profile
Birthday: April 24, 1997
Rookie Year On LPGA: Amateur
Birth Place: South Korea
Residence: Auckland, New Zealand
Nick Names: None Known
How's her English?: Fluent
Lydia Ko was born in South Korea, and moved to New Zealand with her family when she was 6 years old. She had hit balls in Korea on practice ranges, but took up the game in earnest upon arriving in her new home. Within a few years, she became one of the top junior golfers in New Zealand.
In 2009, Lydia lost in the finals of the New Zealand National Amateur Golf Championship, losing to fellow Korean expatriate teenager Cecilia Cho in the final.
Ko continued to stun people everywhere with her talent in 2010. As a 12 year old she finished tied for 7th at the New Zealand Women's Golf Championship, just five shots behind winner Laura Davies. In April, she helped lead New Zealand to a second place finish at the Sirikit Cup, an important team event. She finished 4th in the individual standings.
Ko's star continued to rise in 2011. She came agonizingly close to winning a professional event on the ALPG in January. She was leading with one hole to go but missed a three foot par putt on the final hole to lose by one shot. Had she won, at age 13, she would have broken the record for youngest girl to win a professional golf event by THREE YEARS. At the LET's New Zealand Women's Golf Championship, she bettered her 2010 performance by finishing fourth, and finished tied for 12th at the Handa Australian Masters, another LET event.
By March she rose to the #3 women's world amateur ranking. At this point, her rivalry with good friend Cecilia Cho heated up. Ko claimed the Australian Stroke Play title by beating Cho in a two hole playoff, but lost the Australian Amateur Match Play in the quarterfinals.
Ko then won the New Zealand Stroke Play Championship, beating Cho by 9 shots. This event set up the draw for the New Zealand Match Play Championship, which once again ended up being a final matchup between Cho and Ko. And once again, Ko triumphed, beating her friend 4 and 3 in the final despite the fact Cho had won the event the two previous years. This allowed Ko to rise to #1 in the amateur rankings, knocking Cho down to #2. Ko became the first woman to ever hold both the Australian and New Zealand Stroke Play titles in the same year.
In May, Ko also won the Muriwai Ladies Open, beating a field of pros and amateurs. She then launched her first effort to play in the big European and American amateur events. She lost early in the British Women's Amateur, but claimed the co-medalist honors at the US Women's Amateur before falling in the second round of match play.
Expect to hear much more from this amazing talent in years to come!