Lightning Lydia Strikes Twice
By Torleif Sorenson on 8/26/13
Keep in mind that Lydia Ko is still a 16-year-old girl and continues to play as an amateur — she has not yet turned professional. But on Sunday, she won the Canadian Women's Open.

  • This is Ko's fourth victory in a professional tournament.

  • She shot 64 in the final round on a tough Royal Mayfair layout, with nine Solheim Cup participants from last week breathing down her neck.

  • Ko is now ranked #7 in the Rolex Rankings.

  • She is the first amateur to win twice on the LPGA Tour. When she won last year's Canadian Women's Open, she became fifth all-time — and the first since 1967.

    Not even Michelle Wie has done this.

  • Ko has made the cut in all 14 tournaments she has played since the beginning of the 2012 season.

  • This makes two Canadian Women's Open championships in as many years. The last golfer to win in consecutive years was Hall of Famer Pat Bradley in 1985 and 1986.
Norway's Suzann Pettersen was in front of the field until a disastrous double-bogey at the 14th hole, followed by bogeys at 15 and 17. But Ko played the first nine holes in 30, and curled in a slow, arcing, trecherous birdie putt at the 18th to put an exclamation point on her victory. For a 16-year-old, Ko demonstrated a tremendous amount of emotional maturity afterward:
"I'm pretty surprised, but I played some really good golf out there, so I was really happy about that. My goal today was to shoot five under and just play my own game. If somebody else shot better, then I can't do anything about it."
The big question now is this: When will Ko turn pro? The only thing holding her back now is the fact that she is not yet 18 years old. The LPGA dorked around with giving then-16-year-old Lexi Thompson a crack at an LPGA Tour card until she demolished any questions by winning the 2011 Navistar LPGA Classic. Ko has now won twice on the LPGA Tour, in addition to the 2012 Women's NSW Open in Australia and the 2013 New Zealand Women's Open in her adopted home country.

As Brandel Chamblee pointed out on Sunday evening, Ko has nothing left to prove in amateur golf; there is no reason for her to continue playing as an amateur. Ko has won six amateur championships, including the Australian Women's Amateur and the U.S. Women's Amateur Championship in 2012. She is already playing and winning at the professional level. In fact, her #7 spot in the new Rolex Rankings confirms that she is among the dominant women in the game.

As with Lexi Thompson in 2011, the LPGA needs to dispense with any further posturing. Commissioner Michael Whan needs to come out and say that if Ko decides to turn pro, she will have a Tour card waiting for her.

She has already earned it, beyond any reasonable doubt.

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[ comments ]
BAKE_DAWG40 says:
That's just amazing.
mmontisano says:
why does she need to turn pro? i think there is something admirable about her staying an amateur, and her family is obviously well off. she's 16 and a amateur. so that means she can not accept any prize money. not even endorsements or money to cover travel expenses. so if she's able to fly all around the world to play in 14 tournaments since 2012, she doesn't need the money. i'm assuming, but i imagine at least one of her parents is flying around with her. traveling like that is super expensive, especially from New Zealand.
mmontisano says:
she's playing to win. not money. and i like that.
slimpks1850 says:
She's fun to watch & very impressive. I DVR'd this final round, went to watch but she ruined it... too far ahead!

I'd like to see her turn pro.
legitimatebeef says:
So basically, here is an elite pro golfer in the body of a high school kid. Weird.
legitimatebeef says:
"not even Michelle Wie has done this" -- Wow Tor, even you are still drinking the koolaid? Michelle Wie is a fair to middling golfer at best. Even at her precocious best she was all flash and potential. To say someone has surpassed her achievements, that's not saying much. I mean come on. I like Wie as much as the next guy, but lets not get all crazy and forget what her rightful place is in the golf world.
falcon50driver says:
The next Tigress woods.
legitimatebeef says:
Badcaddy, while I think being an amateur out of principle is admirable, this is not exactly 1920 and Bobby Jones. IMO Ko deserves all the prize money. So do her parents and whoever else is footing her bills which have to be pretty massive at this point. Whenever she wins, the runner-up receives the full winner's check. (cheque?) That's not right. Once or twice it's fine, but she is winning on a consistent basis and over time it upsets the balance of the universe.

Unless of course her family is already massively wealthy in which case I'd take it all back. Screw them. Pissing on $300k checks like no big deal.
joe jones says:
I just hope that when she turns pro (it's inevitable) she isn't overwhelmed by the hype and crush of the commercial side of the game. If she was my daughter I would not jump into a large endorsement deal like Michelle Wie. She should never attempt to play against the men. ever. Her winnings should be in trust with a system that provides expense coverage,a reasonable amount of money for her personal use. Most importantly allow her to be a kid which is what she is. When she reaches 19 or 20 she will have a future as a pro that will be on a secure foundation unlike some of the other young super stars that burn out from the pressure.Think Ty Tryon as an example of what not to do.
mmontisano says:
beef, that's what I'm talking about. they have to be well off. she got defensive when a reporter asked her about giving up yet another winner's check. I think she's happy where she is. it's the media that's putting pressure on her.

there was no pressure for Bobby Jones to make money playing golf either because he came from a well-to-do family. so who knows, maybe she can follow in those footsteps.
BAKE_DAWG40 says:
I hope her family is very wealthy. I like rich people. I've never had a poor man sign my paycheck.
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