Altvater: Marathon Classic champion Lydia Ko wins again, donates cash to tournament volunteer partyWritten by Fred Altvater | | BackNine@toledofreepress.com
Lydia Ko, who won the Marathon Classic here in Toledo last July, won her 10th professional title on Sunday at the New Zealand Women’s Open. It was her second consecutive win after winning the Women’s Australian Open on the LPGA Tour the prior week at historic and difficult Royal Melbourne.
This was her second career win at the New Zealand Women’s Open. She won it in 2013 as a 15-year-old amateur.
Ko has won six LPGA Tour events, two more than both Lexi Thompson and Michelle Wie. Her 10 total professional wins are more than Thompson and Wie combined.
The 10 wins have all come before reaching the age of 18, breaking Jiyai Shin’s record of 19 years old. Others to have amassed 10 professional wins at a young age include 22-year-old Nancy Lopez, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy were all 24 years old when they hit 10 wins, and Annika Sorenstam at 25.
Ko has already won more than $2.4 million in just a little more than one year as a professional, plus she added the $1 million Race to the CME Globe bonus last season. She continues to increase her hold on the No. 1 spot on the Rolex Ranking and will not turn 18 until next month.
She will be in the field this week for the HSBC Women’s Champions from Singapore and will be looking for three in a row. By the way, Ko is paired with Thompson and Wie for the first two rounds this week.
Ko is not only a prolific winner, she displays a maturity beyond her 17 years.
After she posed for pictures, met with media and signed autographs at the Women’s Australian Open last week, she entered the clubhouse to make a brief appearance at the champion’s cocktail party. She quietly slipped an envelope containing $500 into the hands of Andrea Watson, assistant general manager of the event to kick-start the tournament staff’s party.
It was the New Zealander’s way of saying thanks to all those who helped make her triumph so memorable on one of her favorite courses.
A Women’s Australian Open spokesman said: “I’ve worked in the golf industry for 40 years and I’ve never heard of anything like that – especially from a 17-year-old.”
He added: “She’s a class act, I can’t say enough about her. She was very approachable to all our members and talked to them. She’s just a great ambassador for the game and has a great appreciation of what makes clubs and tournaments work.”
Ko may be a class act, but she’s a baby-faced killer on the golf course. Watching her mature and win is nearly as exciting as watching another teenager many years ago named Tiger Woods.
Quotes taken from: http://www.golf.org.au/newsdisplay/classy-kos-cash-offering/84657