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Golf: New-look Lydia Ko, 17, becomes youngest-ever World No. 1

Lydia Ko, 17, finished runner-up at the Coates Golf Championship to become the new World No. 1. Photos: AFP.

Lydia Ko, 17, finished runner-up at the Coates Golf Championship to become the new World No. 1. Photos: AFP.

February 1, 2015: Lydia Ko, 17, will become golf’s youngest-ever World No. 1 in the new Rolex Rankings after the Korea-born Kiwi finished joint runner-up at the Coates Golf Championship in Florida on Saturday. (For event report, visit: sport-asia.com/golf-choi-na-yeon-relieves-anguish-with-first-lpga-title-for-two-years/)

 

Tiger Woods held the previous record after topping the men’s ranking at the age of 21, but the new-look Ko – not wearing glasses – smashed his record by nearly four years.

 

By finishing just one shot behind Choi Na-yeon, Ko only needed one tournament in her second season on the LPGA to reach her new mantle by deposing five-time Major champion Park In-bee, although she wasn’t initially aware of her achievement.

 

“Yeah, it’s amazing. I didn’t really know what I needed to do to get in that position,” said Ko, who was born in Seoul and moved with her family to New Zealand when she was six.

 

“I think it was my agent or my mom that told me after I signed my scorecard and I was like, ‘Really?’ I didn’t know. I don’t really know how the rankings work. Today I was just trying to focus on hitting good shots. Obviously I didn’t win at the end of the day, but I still became World No. 1 and that’s pretty awesome.”

 

Ko was asked whether she had conceived of topping the Rolex Rankings within 15 months of turning pro in October 2013, but admitted she had been more focused on a victory charge that was ultimately denied by a double bogey on 17.

 

“I mean, it was my goal to one day become World No. 1, but right now I didn’t expect that. Sometimes things just hit me by surprise, like my double on 17, as well as a lot of good things,” said Ko, who next travels to the Bahamas for the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic,

 

“All I was focused on was trying to play my best out here, so it’s a huge honour to be in that ranking, but I’m just going to just focus on my golf, not think about the ranking, which always comes after the results.

 

“There’s obviously a loss, but at the same time there was a positive, too. It’s a huge honour to have my name next to that No. 1.”

 

(For interview with Lydia Ko ahead of 2014 season, visit: sport-asia.com/great-expectations-teen-queen-ko-looks-to-learn-from-the-best/)

 

Source: LPGA (www.lpga.com); Editing by SportAsia

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