Weeks: Ko makes history at Canadian Women's Open

Bob Weeks
8/26/2012 9:34:13 PM
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It's hard to wrap your head around it. A 15-year-old, who doesn't have a driver's licence, won't finish high school for two more years and was born after Tiger Woods won his first Masters, is the CN Canadian Women's Open champion.

Think about that for a minute: she defeated the best in women's golf including Stacey Lewis and Jiyai Shin and Michelle Wie.

She even beat the veteran Lexi Thompson.

"Yeah, it's great to win," said Ko, "and the last few holes, it got a bit nerve-wracking, but Stacy Lewis, after my birdie on 15, she said, 'You know, you can do it,' and it was really great to have another player that I look up to giving me that much support.  So it was really awesome."

Ko, who won the U.S. Women's Amateur two weeks ago, maneuvered her ball around the Vancouver Golf Club in a manner that defied her age. She ripped it down the centre of almost every fairway and dropped it onto every green, seemingly just a few feet from the pin, time and time again.

To be precise, she missed only 10 greens in regulation the entire week and only 13 fairways. She was never in any bunkers. And if not for a putting lapse on Saturday, she might have won by a converted touchdown. Of course she corrected that on Sunday, going from 35 official putts down to just 26 as she rolled to a final-round 67.

It almost became boring, machine-like. She never got out of her routine, never showed any sign of nerves. Anyone waiting for her to suddenly realize she was 15 and collapse is still waiting.

The only time she acted her age was when she giggled and smiled in her post-round interviews or when she signed autographs, sometimes in between holes, much to the surprise of her playing partners.

That wasn't the only thing they were taking note of.

"It was fun, though, watching Lydia play," said Lewis, "and I kind of got caught up in her game I think there at the end watching her play, and she went around the whole day, she played great.  Every single shot was right at the pin.  Jiyai and I started laughing about it at the end, so it was just really impressive and fun to be a part of history."

"The pressure she was handling is really amazing," said Inbee Park. " I'm really happy for her.  It's great for her career.  And I think I was just lucky that I get the winner's cheque today."

In spite of her great play, even Ko was having a little trouble believing what she was doing and so she looked at the scoreboard late in her round to calm her.

"Like the first time I looked at the leaderboard was on I think 17 or something.  Maybe I had a peak or anything," she said. "But I kind of looked at it because I wanted to become more relaxed, and today I said I've got nothing to lose.  I already got the leading amateur in my bag."

For her win, she'll take home the Marlene Streit medal, which actually goes to the low amateur, and get her name on the CN Canadian Women's Open trophy. But the first-place cheque of $300,000 gets passed to Park, the runner-up.

That didn't seem to bother Ko. She has no plans to turn pro anytime soon. She wants to finish high school, go to Stanford and then join the LPGA Tour.

Yup, she's got lots of perspective to go with that game.


Lydia Ko (Photo: The Canadian Press)


(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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