by REERA YOO | @reeraboo
Lydia Ko, 17, made golf history on Saturday by becoming the youngest player of either gender to reach No. 1 in the world ranking, breaking Tiger Woods’ record by nearly four years, according to ESPN.
Ko initially held a four shot lead in the Coates Golf Championship in Ocala, Fla., but the teen golfer double-bogeyed on the 17th hole and lost by one stroke to South Korea’s Na-yeon Choi, who finished with a 4-under 68 and a 16-under total. The New Zealander ended up placing second in a three-way tie with Jessica Korda and Ha Na Jang, but she unseated Inbee Park in the top spot of the Rolex World Rankings.
Tiger Woods previously held the record for being the youngest golfer to climb to No. 1 in 1997, when he was only 21 years old. Ko managed to reach the mark by 3 years, 8 months and 14 days earlier.
Ko seems to be the youngest player to achieve just about anything in the golf world. She became the youngest player to win a professional golf tournament at age 14 and was named the youngest winner of an LPGA Tour event at age 15 after she won gold at the CN Canadian Women’s Open.
Last November, Ko ended the season by winning the CME Titleholders and taking home the $1 million bonus for the season-long points rage. If Ko had won Coates Championship, it would have been her sixth LPGA title, according to the Golf Channel.
Meanwhile, Choi’s victory at the Golden Ocala Golf and Equestrian Club was an emotional one as it marked the 27-year-old golfer’s first win since 2012. Choi had won the 2012 U.S. Women’s Open, but she fell into a two-year victory drought and eventually was dropped from the top 15 in the world rankings.
“I think I was so nervous out there,” Choi told ESPN after winning her eighth LPGA title as she fought back tears. “I was waiting so long for this moment.”
Photo courtesy of Chris Trotman/Getty Images via LPGA.com