It’s been a year since Lydia Ko became the youngest winner in LPGA Tour history, winning the CN Canadian Women’s Open at 15 years old.
And as she tries to become the LPGA’s youngest repeat winner this week in Edmonton, Alberta, Ko had a chance to reflect Tuesday.
“It was a huge surprise,” Ko said of her history-making victory. “It kind of didn’t sink in yet at that moment, but now when I look back at it, it was a really big week in my life.”
Of course, she’s had many big weeks already in her young golf career. She won the 2012 Women’s NSW Open on the Australian Ladies Pro Golf Tour at 14 years old, becoming, at the time, the youngest person to ever win a professional event. She also won the Australian Women’s Amateur last year along with the 2012 U.S. Women;s Amateur, which she won shortly before making LPGA history in Vancouver.
“Time flies, and lots of things have happened since then,” said Ko, now 16. “I’ve been really enjoying it the last year.”
Ko finished T-42 in her last professional start at the Ricoh Women’s British Open earlier this month. It marked the first time in 23 pro tournaments that she had finished outside of the top 40. This will be her 10th start on the LPGA Tour this season, and she’s already got four top-10 finishes.
Yet she is still an amateur, and the world’s top-ranked amateur at that. She is also No. 19 in the Rolex Rankings.
“I don’t really think about money; I just hit the ball,” Ko said. “My parents are the ones that are thinking about money and expenses.”
One thing she is thinking about is college, and when she will turn pro. Ko’s family has already inquired about a possible waiver of the LPGA’s policy that requires its members be at least 18 years old. Lexi Thompson was granted membership at 16 years old in 2012 after she won the 2011 Navistar Classic.
“I am thinking of college, but I’m not thinking of playing college golf,” Ko said. “That’s a different route I’m taking. And still, like I can’t talk to the college coaches, so it’s quite a hard thing to make a decision right now.
“(As far as turning) pro, we’re thinking about when it’s the right time.”
Right now, it’s time for Ko to defend her title in Canada, although she’ll have to do it on a different course. The event will be played this week at Royal Mayfair Golf Club for the first time since 2007. Ko’s victory last year came at Vancouver Golf Club.
“The course setup is a bit different,” Ko said of the par-70, 6,403-yard layout. “But I played well last year, so hopefully I’ll be able to do that again this year.”
With the kind of success she’s had already on women’s golf’s biggest stage, she might be able to pull it off.