Monday, August 27, 2012

Amateur 15-year old LPGA winner Lydia Ko must pass $300K prize to second-place finisher

Lydia Ko won the Canadian Women's Open in  Coquitlam, British Columbia on Sunday to become the youngest winner in LPGA Tour history and only it's fifth amateur champion.

The 15-year old South Korean-born New Zealander — already rated one of the best female golfers in the world — broke the record of 16 set by Lexi Thompson last year at the Navistar LPGA Classic in Alabama (since broken by 14-year old Brooke Henderson), and became the first amateur winner since Joanne Carter in 1969.

The good news for Ko was that she finished with a 5-under par 67 for a three stroke victory.  The bad news is Ko doesn't get to keep the $300,000 first-place prize because she is still an amateur.

The young phenom continues to play as an amateur, despite her extraordinary skills, because her goals are to finish high school, go to college and live a normal life as a teen.

Second-place finisher Inbee Park will be the beneficiary of Ko's amateur status and will take home the 300 G's — $140,000 more than she would have won for a second-place share.


"To break another record, or being in the history, it's amazing," said Ko.  "And it's always awesome to be able to play with the pros."

In January, Ko won the new South wales Open in Australia at age 14 to become the youngest player to win a professional tour event and won the U.S. Women's Amateur two weeks ago in Cleveland.

"I didn't cry after this one, but [after] that one I did cry," Ko said referring to the amateur event.  "But still, as an amateur winning one of the biggest amateur events, I feel like it was a better win — even though this one was awesome."

Ko may have missed out on cashing the $300K check— that could have bought her a lot of text books in college — but gets to keep the big, shiny trophy.

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