Teenage Golf Phenom Lydia Ko Tops Women’s World Rankings

Lydia Ko

With New Zealand’s Lydia Ko finishing tied for second at the inaugural Coates Golf Championship, the seventeen-year-old sensation climbed her way to the top of the Women’s World Golf Rankings.

The remarkable feat makes her the youngest to ever achieve that distinction in golf.

The top standing took a little sting out of the disappointment of not winning the tournament outright. “I was here to focus on the tournament itself, but I guess I got a great outcome at the end of the day, too,” she said.

Ko led the tournament at the Golden Ocala Golf and Equestrian Club after 70 holes, but stumbled at the 17th on Saturday when she knocked her driver into a fairway trap and then sprayed her approach shot into the trees. Ko carded a double bogey on the hole, eventually losing the tournament by one shot to Na Yeon Choi.

The New Zealander, who now lives in the United States, attained the youngest World Golf Ranking leader title by easily outpacing the previous youngest to do so, Tiger Woods. Woods held the number one spot when he was 21.

Golf.com reported that the young phenom has impressed her swing coach David Ledbetter with her calm, cool demeanor on the course. “We sent her to anger management school to learn how to get angry,” Leadbetter laughed.

Woods on the other hand, who appears hopelessly trapped between conflicting techniques, remains a long way from the top of the world. He shot his worst round as a professional, 82, at the Phoenix Open on Friday, where he missed the cut. Tiger has now fell out of the top fifty world rankings for the first time in three years.