Pro Win for One of the Most Influential People on Planet

Still only 17 years of age, New Zealander Lydia Ko is in her rookie season as a professional – the LPGA waiving their age limit of 18 on account of her talent and maturity – and she has duly collected her first tournament win at the Swinging Skirts Classic in California last week, CNN reports.

It was not her first success at this level, Ko had already claimed the 2012 and 2013 Canadian Open crowns while still an amateur, but it was an important milestone at a $1.8 million tournament.

Annika Sorenstam, considered one of the most successful female golfers in history, winning 93 events, including 10 majors, is so impressed with Ko that she endorsed the teen phenom for inclusion in Time Magazine’s 2014 list of the most 100 influential people on the planet.

Ko was one of just five from the world of sport, the others gay NBA icon Jason Collins, Super Bowl champion Richard Sherman, tennis ace Serena Williams and FIFA World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo.

“Lydia Ko is exceptionally talented, mature beyond her years and well liked by golf fans and competitors alike,” the Swedish legend wrote in the published citation.

“She is responsible for sparking increased interest in our sport not just in her native South Korea and adopted homeland of New Zealand but also among juniors across the globe.”

“From a young age, I have had very high expectations of myself on the golf course and while I am proud of the success I have achieved, I know I have a long way to go,” Ko said.

Hall of Famer Sorenstam sums it up succinctly. “She’s leading golf’s youth movement.”

Original article by Paul Gittings, CNN, April 29, 2014.

Photo by Eric Risberg, AP/AP.

Tags: 2012 Canadian Open  2013 Canadian Open  Annika Sorenstam  Auckland  CNN  Cristiano Ronaldo  Jason Collins  LPGA  Lydia Ko  Richard Sherman  Serena Williams  Swinging Skirts Classic  TIME  

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