The 2013 golf season isn’t quite finished! Kiwi teen phenom and the LPGA’s newest pro, Lydia Ko, has claimed her 1st professional victory. The Rolex Ranked No. 6 New Zealander entered the final round of the Swinging Skirts World Ladies Masters trailing Rolex Ranked No. 5, South Korean So Yeon Ryu, by 1 shot. The pair battled through 13 holes in the final round. Then Ryu bogeyed the par-3s, 14 and 17, and it was Ko’s tournament!
What a golf weekend this has been. Sixteen-year old Ko won the Swinging Skirts and cigar-smoking, fast car driving 50-year old Miguel Angle Jiminez won the Hong Kong Open.
Ko’s pro debut last month at the LPGA CME Group Titleholders, surrounded by hype and months of speculation about when the 16-year old would take the big step from amateur to pro, was a bit disappointing for her fans.
Ko played that event under a magnifying glass of press coverage and public pressure, finishing at -4 for the tournament in a tie for 21st place. With back-to-back 2012 & 2013 wins at the CN Canadian Women’s Open and a stunning 2nd place finish at the 2013 Evian Championship, Ko was expected to perform at a much higher level at the Titleholders.
With the spotlight turned on Stacy Lewis and the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters this weekend, Ko was able to relax and play her superb game of golf, and she did just that, beating back a strong field of contenders that included Rolex Ranked No. 1 Inbee Park and Yani Tseng as well as So Yeon Ryu.
Tseng, who’s struggled with her game this season, carded one of her best finishes of the year. With a final round of 68 and an overall -2, Tseng finished in a tie for 6th place.
The 54-hole Swinging Skirts World Ladies Masters is an official stop on both the Korea Ladies Professional Golf Tour and the Taiwan Ladies Professional Golf Association. US fans will be able to enjoy the Swinging Skirts up close and personal in August 2014 at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic. This new event on the LPGA classic will be played at Lake Merced Golf Club in San Francisco.