Saturday, February 9, 2013

Another K.O. for Ko


            For those of you who were busy watching Bill Murray’s antics and the best argument for Phil to switch to soft spikes, over in New Zealand something far more awesome than anything that could happen in Monterey was taking place. 
            Officially, the LPGA doesn’t start until next week, but many Tour players were warming up with a solid field and event in the New Zealand Women’s Open.  The field included LPGA Tour winners Anna Norqvist, Christina Kim and Sydnee Michaels among other well-known players.  The field also included LPGA Tour Champion Lydia Ko, who at 14-years old became the youngest player ever to win a professional event, and then followed it with an LPGA Tour victory at the Canadian Women’s Open at 15-years old.  She added the U.S. Women’s Amateur title to that list and as of a few hours ago she also tacked on the national open title for her native homeland.
            Ko finished the 3 round event at 10-under par.  She was the only player in the field with 3 rounds of 70 or better including a pair of weekend 68s.  Her final round had only one bogey on the third hole as she completed her final 15 holes without a blemish. She hit 17 of 18 greens. It was truly a remarkable performance.
            In stark contrast to her LPGA Tour victory which was very much without contest on the final day, this was neck-and-neck all the way to the finish.  In fact, she was tied going into the final hole with American Amelia Lewis who three-putted the final green to drop to -9 in the penultimate group.  Ko, needing par to win, delivered and captured her third professional title at the age of 15.
            If you were following on Twitter, Ron Sirak, Randall Mell and Beth Ann Baldry all gave frequent updates and when the result was final the congratulations started pouring in.  I think one of the classiest things I’ve seen in the recent past is the string of Retweets from Lydia Ko who appears to have Retweeted every single congratulatory tweet sent her way.  For the Twitter-less, a Retweet is very much like a thank you because it resends your original tweet to the person’s own followers.   Not only is she already a veteran champion but she’s a class act as well. 
Ko has stated she’s interested in the normal college life and I think there are coaches everywhere who would love to have her on the team, but I’m not sure that would even be a challenge.  It’s clear she belongs amongst the very best in the game and I sure hope she stays interested in golf so we can watch for years to come.  Congratulations Lydia, good luck next week and into the future!

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