12 Nov 2011

Lydia Ko earns historic women's golf honour

6:52 am on 12 November 2011

The New Zealand golfer Lydia Ko has joined the amateur elite alongside compatriot Danny Lee as recipient of the Mark H McCormack medal as the leading amateur in the world.

The 14-year-old becomes the first to receive the new award for the top-ranked golfer in the women's world amateur rankings.

This has come about after the rankings were established this year for amateur women by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club and the United States Golf Association.

Ko has played in New Zealand since the age of seven, finishing runner-up in the New Zealand Amateur in 2009.

She finished in a share of seventh at the 2010 New Zealand Women's Open when she became the youngest player to achieve the cut in a Ladies European Tour event.

She helped New Zealand to second place in the Queen Sirikit Cup and secured the Toro Interprovincial title for North Harbour.

Ko was runner-up in the New South Wales Open, missing a putt on the last green to get into the playoff and a chance to become the youngest ever winner in a professional event and was tied for 12th at the Australian Masters, also a LET event.

She went on to finish in a share of fourth place in the New Zealand Open at Pegasus this year with a brilliant performance, before returning to the amateur scene to win both the New Zealand and Australian Stroke Play titles, the first woman to achieve this feat in the same year.

She ventured to Europe and USA this year, with the highlight coming as co-medallist in the US Women's Amateur, although she fell in the second round of Match Play.