Sunday, January 29, 2012


Lydia Ko after her world record-setting victory in the New South Wales Women's Open
                       Image from the ALPG website

The 2012 Bing Lee/Samsung Women’s New South Wales Open will be remembered as the tournament where Lydia Ko stamped her name in the history books.
The 14-year old South Korean-born New Zealander - ranked the World's No 1 female amateur for the past year or so - produced a bogey-free round of 3-under par 69 to run out a four-shot victor over 54 holes at Oatlands Golf Club and become the youngest winner of a professional golf tournament, man or women, in the history of golf.
Wales’ Becky Morgan finished in second place with a sensational final round of 6-under par 66, while Kent-born Lindsey Wright and Kristie Smith tie for third. Ko had started the final round with a four-shot cushion over Wright, and it was Wright who got off to the best start with a birdie at the second to close the gap to three shots. Both players went par-birdie over the next two holes before Wtight gave back the shot she’d made up weith a bogey at the par-3 5th hole.
Wright pulled with two shots with birdies at the 6th and 7th holes but that would be as close as she would get with the young New Zealander unflappable every time she was challenged.
Ko made the turn at 13-under, Wright at 11-under while Morgan and Smith were making up ground in the groups ahead. The crunch hole seemed to be the 11th hole where Ko had overshot the green and had a very difficult up-and-down, while Wright had a difficult but makeable put from 10 feet.
Ko hit a good, but not great chip and watched as Wright missed hers. Lydia then calmly rolled in her own par putt from 5 feet and it seemed that was the calming influence on her round.
Both players parred the next three holes but Ko put the first nail in the coffin when she made birdie at the 15th. Wright could only make par and the lead was three.
Wright fell away from there with two more bogeys while Ko kept her blemish free round in tact with three pars to finish. By the time she walked on to the 18th tee she held a four shot advantage and it was only the formalities left. She completed her round with a regulation par, but for the crowd it was not quite regulation.
Her tee shot on the short par-3 hit the flag and hole and ended off the left edge of the green. She two putted and it almost looked like she had amazed herself as she looked up at the crowd.
After her round she said, “I got more nervous as the day went on. When Lindsey got within two shots, I started to think back to last year with Caroline (Hedwall). Obviously, I am very happy to win, it means a lot to me.”
She also paid special mention to her coach Guy Wilson who has coached her for eight years and also her caddie Steve Mowbray who she “enjoyed working with.” In girls-only events, Lydia would not be permitted a caddie.
Lydia Ko received an Australian $1,000 voucher managed through an HSBC banking account and administered by Golf NSW so as not to endanger her amateur status The voucher will directly contribute to the reimbursement of her expenses.
Ko's amateur status meant she missed out on the £12,700 first pro prize, but she was still thrilled to have made history.
''To be part of history is like a miracle,'' Ko said. ''It's not something you can have by clicking your fingers.
''My driver and iron play were probably the nicest to me over the past two days.
''I also putted well, but I was in good position on most of the greens because I was able to make approaches from good places on the fairways.''
Ko beats the previous record of Japanese sensation Ryo Ishikawa, who won his first event aged 15 years eight months in 2007, and the women's record of 16 years six months set by Amy Yang at the Australian Ladies Masters in 2006.

The ALPG Tour moves to the Gold Coast next week with the 21st staging of the Australian Ladies Masters.

Par 216 (3x72)
202 Lydia Ko (New Zealand) (amateur) 69 64 69
206 Becky Morgan (Wales) 70 70 66.
207 Kristie Smith (Australia) 72 67 66, Lindsey Wright (Australia) 71 66 70.
208 Katherine Hull (Australia) 73 69 66.
209 Hae-Rym Kim (South Korea) 69 70 70, Gwladys Nocera (France) 70 68 71.
Selected totals
215 Charlotte Thomas (England) (amateur) 72 71 72 (T18).
216 Danielle Montgomery (England) 71 71 70, Vikki Laing (Scotland) 73 72 71, Laura Davies (England) 72 72 71 (T24).
218 Rebecca Codd (Ireland) 74 71 73 (T35).
220 Elizabeth Bennett (England) 75 73 72 (T47).
222 Clare Queen (Scotland) 72 76 74 (T33).
225 Kym Larratt (England) 73 74 78 (T61)

151 Felicity Johnson (England) 76 75 (T70)
152 Kylie Walker (Scotland) 74 78 (T77)



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