Lydia Ko earned a place in history as the youngest winner in LPGA Tour history. What the 15-year-old amateur didn’t get was the $300,000 first prize.
While Ko won the Canadian Women’s Open by three shots yesterday at the Vancouver Golf Club in British Columbia, runner-up Inbee Park received the winner’s check because Ko is ineligible to accept prize money because of her amateur status.
“When I turn pro I’ll have that money,” said Ko, who two weeks ago won the U.S. Amateur title and plans to finish high school and attend college. “Hopefully I’ll have many wins.”
Ko is the first amateur to win on the LPGA Tour since JoAnne Carner in 1969 and surpasses Lexi Thompson as the tour’s youngest event winner. Thompson was 16 when she won the LPGA Classic 11 months ago.
“I just wanted to make the cut,” Ko, who was born in South Korea and raised in New Zealand, said at a news conference. “And when I saw that I was tied first after the second day, I was like, ‘Wow, I’m feeling really good.” Yeah, I’m kind of surprised to have two wins in such a short time.’’
Ko is the fifth amateur to win on the LPGA Tour, joining Carner, Catherine LaCoste in 1967, Pat O’Sullivan in 1951 and Polly Riley in 1950.