By Lukas Raschilla.
New Zealand teen sensation has lit up the LPGA, claiming another title and sitting atop the Rolex Women’s World Rankings. The 17-year old has won two tournaments in the past month, and recently finished runner-up behind Inbee Park at the HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore.
Last year in her debut season on the LPGA Tour, Ko won the LPGA Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year and earned a US$1 million bonus for claiming the inaugural Race to the CME Globe points title. In 2014, Ko also became the youngest LPGA player to surpass US$2 million in career earnings and made the cut for all 26 events she played in.
Ko claimed her sixth career LPGA victory earlier this month at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open at historic Royal Melbourne, with an impressive 9-under 283 in only her second start as world number one, and has been named the season’s first Kia Most Compelling Performance award winner. A week later, she returned home to New Zealand and won the ISPS Handa New Zealand Women’s Open at Clearwater Golf Club by four strokes. In her last seven starts, Ko secured two victories and posted five additional top 10 finishes dating back to last year. With her Australian Open victory, she became the youngest player in history – male or female, to achieve 10 professional wins.
Ko has taken the 2015 LPGA season by storm, recording a Tour win, two runner-up finishes and a season-long streak of under-par rounds. Perhaps more importantly, she continues to lead the Race to the CME Globe. In addition, Ko has held the No. 1 spot on Rolex Rankings for six consecutive weeks. As the season continues, Ko will need to remain consistent as contenders such as South Korea’s Inbee Park surge. Park claimed last week’s HSBC Champions in Singapore, edging out Ko by two strokes and in the process propelling herself to second place in the Rolex Rankings.
Ko has been busy promoting the upcoming Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic tournament at Lake Merced Golf Club in San Francisco, which kicks off on April 23. Ko is defending champion and looking to claim back-to-back titles. Next up on the LPGA Tour is the JTBC Founders Cup in Phoenix that starts on March 19, where Aussie Karrie Webb heads in as defending champion.
The KIA classic is held a week later in Carlsbad, California before the first major of the season, the ANA Inspiration tournament, held in Rancho Mirage, California over the Easter weekend, kicks off on April 2. With a purse of US$2.5 million and 625 CME Globe points at stake, Ko will have her eyes set on claiming her first LPGA major.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.