Ko youngest major winner

Ko youngest major winner

Lydia Ko with her trophy after winning the year's final Major, the Evian Championship, yesterday. The 18-year-old is 171 days younger than Morgan Pressel was when she won the 2007 Kraft Nabisco Championship.
Lydia Ko with her trophy after winning the year's final Major, the Evian Championship, yesterday. The 18-year-old is 171 days younger than Morgan Pressel was when she won the 2007 Kraft Nabisco Championship.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

New Zealander takes Evian title with flawless final-round 63, aims for gold at Rio Olympics

EVIAN (France) • New Zealand's Lydia Ko wrote another chapter of golfing history yesterday when she became the youngest winner of a women's Major with a stunning final round of 63 at the Evian Championship.

The flawless eight-birdie round also resulted in the best aggregate score ever played at the tournament and the lowest final round in the LPGA this season.

She finished on 16-under 268 - six strokes ahead of American Lexi Thompson (70).

China's Feng Shanshan also shot 70 and was third on eight under.

Ko is 18 years and 142 days old - 171 days younger than Morgan Pressel was when the American won the 2007 Kraft Nabisco Championship.

Much of the build-up to the year's final Major centred around how this was Ko's last chance to rewrite Pressel's mark, and the New Zealander did not disappoint.

"Everyone won't be asking me when I'll win my first Major because it's done," said the teenage sensation in just her 17th appearance in a Major.

Back in February, aged 17, Ko became the youngest player to claim the world No. 1 ranking, although the Evian victory still leaves her at No.2 behind South Korea's Park In Bee.

She also holds the record as the youngest winner on the LPGA Tour, the first of her nine wins coming as a 15-year-old amateur at the 2012 Canadian Open.

Ko started the final round two shots behind overnight leader Lee Mi Hyang of South Korea, who finished joint fourth with a 74. And she was three behind Thompson after seven holes.

But she birdied four holes between the seventh and 12th to take the lead. She edged three ahead when Thompson, over the back and in deep rough from the tee, took a double-bogey five at the short 14th.

The final few holes were a victory stroll. An up-and-down birdie at the long 15th stretched the lead to four, then it was five after a 20-foot birdie putt at the 17th.

She finished her round in style by holing another 20-footer at the last.

Ko has now set her sights on gold at the Rio Games next year.

"One of my big goals is the Olympics," she said after missing just one green in regulation en route to her fourth victory of the year - equalling the number won by Park.

Park, winner of two Majors this season and seeking a career Grand Slam here, had a fine final round of 68 to finish just inside the top 10 on five under par.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 14, 2015, with the headline 'Ko youngest major winner'. Print Edition | Subscribe