Historic Win for Lydia Ko

Showing maturity and skill well beyond her age, 15-year-old amateur Lydia Ko closed with a 5-under 67 to match the low final round and win the $2 million Canadian Women's Open. The 72-hole LPGA Tour event took place at Vancouver Golf Club in British Columbia.

After posting two birdies and a bogey on the front nine, Ko, who was born in South Korea but has lived in New Zealand for the past 10 years, reeled off five birdies in the first six holes on the inward half to distance herself from the field.

Even with a bogey on the last, Ko, who won the U.S. Women's Amateur two weeks ago, finished at 13-under 275, three strokes ahead of South Korean Inbee Park (69). Because of Ko's amateur status, Park took home the winner's share of $300,000.

Ko became the youngest winner in LPGA Tour history, supplanting Lexi Thompson - who won the Navistar LPGA Classic last September - by a margin of 16 months. She's the first amateur winner - and fifth overall - on the women's pro circuit since JoAnne Carner at the 1969 Burdine's Invitational. Ko is also the first amateur to win Canada's national golf championship for women.

At 14, Ko won the New South Wales Open in Australia in January to become the youngest player to win a professional tour event. That mark was broken in June by 14-year-old Brooke Henderson in a Canadian Women's Tour event in Quebec.

"It means a lot," Ko said at greenside. "I came to just play and make the cut and I won." As for whether she'd like to have pocketed the top prize, the well-spoken and charismatic Ko added, "Yes I do." She then added, "Hopefully, I'll have many wins and earn the money."

Ko's caddie for the week was Brian Alexander, a fine player from Vancouver Golf Club. When asked how he helped Ko to victory, Alexander said, "I didn't have to do anything . . . I just watched in awe." Ko appreciated her looper's help, noting, "It was really great to have Brian on the bag."

Sharing third at 8-under 280 were three Koreans - Na Yeon Choi (68), Jiyai Shin (71) and Chella Choi (71). Each earned $140,103. Stacy Lewis, playing in the final group with Ko, closed with a 72 to tie for sixth at 281 with Anna Nordqvist (69).

Lewis had a front-row seat watching Ko and later told reporters, "You knew to talk to her, you know that she's 15," said the two-time winner this season. "And there were some shots out there you could tell that (she could) have played them a little differently, but she got the ball in the hole and I wasn't even imagining being out here at 15, so I'm really impressed."

Defending champion Brittany Lincicome had a desultory Sunday, shooting a 7-over 79 to fall into a tie for 60th at 6-over 294. No. 1-ranked Yani Tseng shot her second 74 on the weekend to end up tied for 35th at 289.

As for what she thought of Ko's performance, Tseng said: "(I'm) very impressed. Especially she's only 15 years old. I didn't even know what I'm doing when I'm 15. So it's pretty amazing to see her play this good in the best stage. All the best coverage here and she's like only 15 years old and trying to win an LPGA tournament. It must be a dream come true if she can win.

"So I mean it's good to see so many younger players now on the tour, and it's good to see the young generations coming out . . . I think it's good for the game. Yeah, I feel I'm old on the tour now. I'm only 23, but there's so many younger players now."

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