Third round co-leaders Laura Diaz and Lee-Anne Pace bogeyed their way down the leaderboard on Sunday while Cristie Kerr and Lydia Ko birdied their way to the top at the Marathon Classic presented by Owens Corning & I-O. Then Kerr missed a five footer on 15 and dropped back; and Ko birdied 16, opening up a two stroke lead going into the crucial final holes of the round. As Kerr fell back, So Yeon Ryu made a move, firing off a pair of birdies on 16 and 17 to pull even with Ko at fourteen strokes under par. Ko fought back with a birdie on 18 and Ryu, unable to recover from an errant drive on 18, wasn’t able to counter and force a playoff. Lydia Ko, the rookie with the swing and presence of a veteran, claimed the victory. Let’s take a closer look at this remarkable young athlete.
Lydia Ko in a Nutshell
Ko’s win at the Marathon Classic is her second as a member of the Tour — her first came in April of this year at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic — and her fourth career victory in an LPGA venue. Ko won the 2012 and 2013 CN Canadian Women’s Open as an amateur.
With the $210K first place share of the purse at the Marathon Classic, Ko’s winnings pass the million dollar mark and she’s broken another record by becoming the youngest player on the Tour to win a million dollars, eclipsing Lexi Thompson’s record by slightly more than a year.
Ko’s now at 194th on the LPGA Career Money List and she’s passed Inbee Park for the third spot on the LPGA Tour Official Money List. For the moment she’ll remain second in the world rankings and third in the Race to the CME Globe, trailing Stacy Lewis and Michelle Wie although the Vegas bookies are probably taking bets on when she’ll hit the top of the world rankings!
Golfing World profiled Ko shortly after her win at the Swinging Skirts, and the portrait that emerges is of a talented, self-possessed, young athlete who’s destined to lead women’s golf into a very bright future.
Because New Zealand is not among the countries participating in the International Crown, Lydia Ko is off next week and although the final player list is not yet available for the inaugural LPGA Meijer Classic, August 7-10, there’s little doubt that Lydia Ko will be in the field.