Fifteen-year-old Lydia Ko became the youngest player to win a Ladies European Tour event and the first home winner of the ISPS Handa NZ Women’s Open in New Zealand.
Ko made a three-foot putt on the final hole yesterday to take victory in Christchurch, her third professional win in only 12 tournaments.
“I didn’t cry at the Canadian Open so I don’t know why I cried here,” said Ko. “I guess it meant more. It is our national open so to win means a lot. I am not the person who shows expression of feeling but I guess the tears showed it.”
Ko, a winner in New South Wales and Canada, rated her NZ Open victory as the best so far in her short but already successful career. “[This win] is at the top. It is the national open and I came so close in the last three years.”
Ko, at 15 years, eight months and 17 days, took the record from South Korean Amy Yang who was 16 years, six months and eight days when she won the NZ Ladies Masters in Australia as an amateur in 2006.
Ko added: “It makes it more special to be the first New Zealander to win the Women’s Open. It is always special to make history. I guess I broke history again.”
Ko did not have it all her own way as the joint overnight leader was overtaken during the final round by Australian Stacey Keating and American Amelia Lewis.
Ko recorded a fifth birdie of the day on the 15th to draw level with Lewis, then Keating three-putted the final hole to see her chances slip away. Lewis also three-putted and Ko edged the win by a single shot on 10 under.