Lydia Ko wins New Zealand Women's Open
Published on Friday, May. 24, 2013 09:43PM EDT Last updated on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013 03:45PM EST
Top-ranked amateur Lydia Ko became the youngest winner of a women's European Tour golf event when she took victory at the New Zealand Women's Open in Christchurch on Sunday.
The New Zealander cried with joy after winning her third professional title in just her 12th start at the age of 15 years, eight months and 17 days.
"I didn't cry at the Canadian Open so I don't know why I cried here," said Ko. "I guess it meant more. It is our national open so to win means a lot. I'm not the sort of person who shows expression or feelings that much but I guess I did here."
In the span of 13 months, Ko has now won the New South Wales Open to become the youngest player, male or female, to win a professional event, the CN Canadian Women's Open to become the youngest-ever winner on the LPGA Tour, and now a professional tournament at home.
The Korean-born Ko approached the last hole in a tie for the lead with American Amelia Lewis at 10-under. But Lewis, in the penultimate group, three-putted from 25 feet for bogey and Ko, playing in the last group, made a three-foot putt for par to complete a final-round 68.
She beat the record set by South Korean Amy Yang, who was aged 16 years, six months and eight days when she won the Ladies Masters in Australia as an amateur in 2006.
Ko became the third amateur to win on the women's European Tour, after Gillian Stewart, at the 1984 European Open, and Yang.
"It means a lot and makes it more special to be the first New Zealander to win the women's Open," the schoolgirl said. "It is always special to make history. I guess I broke history again."
Ko, already ranked 38th in the world rankings, now heads for the Australian Open in Canberra, which starts on Thursday.
Cheyenne Woods, the niece of Tiger Woods, finished in a tie for 25th at 3 under while former world No. 1 Laura Davies was 51st.
Canadians Sara-Maude Juneau and Lorie Kane failed to make the cut.