Lydia Ko dominated the Young South Korean golfer Sei Young Kim to secure the 14th victory of her career in Edmonton. The 18-year-old New Zealander, who lives in Florida with her family, went into the tournament a staggering 42 shots better off than the rest of the field, but showed no sign of rest on Saturday, getting a bogey-free round of six-under 66 to win by a four-shot margin.
Ko sank seven birdies to briefly take a three-shot lead at the midway stage of the tournament but, following an eagle at the 15th and a birdie at the 16th, dropped shots at the 17th and 18th and held on for the win.
If Ko was looking for a way to improve her seven-stroke lead on Sunday, her strategy of sticking with a conservative round of golf appeared to be working. “I don’t play too far ahead, I don’t play that many tournaments,” she said. “I think I had that three shot lead, three, four shot lead, so I can tell myself don’t go chase all these golf balls and things.”
Ko, who was nearly a full decade older than her opponent when she made her European Tour debut in 2010, got up and down from close range at the 17th and 20-foot putt for birdie at the last in comfortable fashion to record her 12th win on the LPGA Tour, in her 32nd start on the circuit.
She also won the Daytona International Speedway Marathon in Florida this year and became the youngest player ever to win in Australia. Ko played her first LPGA Tour event when she was just 13 and her career has been nothing short of meteoric.
She won six times in 2015, when she was still a teenager, including three of the four majors, becoming the youngest winner at the Evian Championship in France and her first LPGA victory in women’s golf when she beat Stacy Lewis, Lexi Thompson and Jiyai Shin in a playoff at the Marathon Classic in Sylvania, Ohio.
“It’s not something I used to prepare for, I wasn’t really thinking about it,” Ko said about winning by four strokes. “It’s been just one of those things where I didn’t really think about it. I just play golf and try to do my best. I don’t really think I’m a top-10 player or top-five player.
“Just because you win a couple of tournaments does not mean that you’re a top-10 player or a top-five player.”
Ko is also ranked the No 1 amateur in the world and this month she successfully defended her title at the Memorial. This win moves her up to third in the world ranking.
“For my career, this is one of the most amazing wins,” Ko said. “It means a lot to me because I came from nowhere in the beginning.”