COQUITLAM, British Columbia – It hasn’t even been two weeks since Lydia Ko wrapped her hands around the Robert Cox Trophy, one of the most beautiful in golf. After winning the U.S. Women’s Amateur on Aug. 12, what 15-year-old Ko calls the best amateur event in the world, she and her mother Tina got back on the road. Now Ko is in contention heading into the weekend at the LPGA’s Canadian Women’s Open.
Ko shot a second consecutive 4-under 68 on Friday to take a share of the lead with Chella Choi. Ko birdied four of her final seven holes, and was bogey free for the day. That’s Ko’s game. You might call it tidy.
With a victory, Ko would be the youngest champion in LPGA history, surpassing Lexi Thompson, who won at 16.
The Auckland, New Zealand native now has occupied the top spot in the R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking for more than a year. That recently earned her the Mark H. McCormack Medal for the second year in a row. The honor assures her a spot in next year’s U.S. Women’s Open.
Ko’s maturity showed during the final day at the Women’s Amateur as she stood at the podium with a cool head and, in her thick Kiwi accent, ran through a list of thank-yous like it’s something she does daily. With a resume that includes almost every amateur event there is to win Down Under, Ko has had her share of practice.
In January, Ko won the New South Wales Open in Australia at 14 to become the youngest player to win a professional tour event. Two professional victories in the span of a year really would be something.
The 22-year-old Choi, from South Korea, followed her opening 72 with a 64 on The Vancouver Golf Club course. She rebounded from a sore shoulder that hampered her Thursday.
Four players – Moira Dunn, Angela Stanford, Inbee Park and Na Yeon Choi – finished the second round tied for third at 5 under.