Ko’s Classic Swing Wins Skirts in San Fran
Kiwi golf prodigy Lydia Ko has earned her biggest prize purse of her short professional career when she took out the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic in San Francisco at the weekend. The 17-year-old displayed maturity beyond her years on the 18th, when she chipped out of the rough and birdied the final hole to prevail by one-shot over world number three, Stacy Lewis.
The Associated Press described the teenager as poised and unflappable, as Ko made the perfect pitch up to the green to clinch victory and collect the winner’s purse of US$270,000 (NZ$315,000).
It has been a memorable week. Only three days earlier, she had been greeted at the first tee at the San Francisco course with a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday as Ko officially exited the sweet sixteens. The same week TIME magazine named her as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
It was Ko’s second win since turning pro, her third LPGA Tour victory and her sixth win in a professional tournament (she competed as an amateur in the other four).
The triumph lifts her up two places to the number two ranked player in the world.
Her father Hong watched his daughter’s final round victory, the first time he had seen her play outside of Australasia, and Ko told AP that “tears nearly ran down my face. You may lose friends but you’re always going to have your parents.”