International Crown momentum
Some trends entering this week’s International Crown:
- U.S. players have won 11 of the 18 tournaments this season on the LPGA, including victories by International Crown participants Stacy Lewis (3), Lexi Thompson (1) and Paula Creamer. Cristie Kerr finished third last week at the Marathon Classic.
- Even though a South Korean player has won only once on the LPGA this season (Inbee Park), there is still quite a bit of momentum on the team. I.K. Kim won the Ladies European Masters three weeks ago in England by five strokes. Inbee Park was the runner-up in the Ricoh Women’s British Open and So Yeon Ryu finished second last week at the Marathon Classic.
- Eighth-seeded Australia got quite a boost last week in preparation for its opening match on Thursday vs. the top-seeded United States. Katherine Kirk finished T4 and Lindsey Wright T7 at the Marathon Classic. Karrie Webb has already won twice this season.
- Sweden has a solid 1-2 punch with Solheim Cup veterans Anna Nordqvist and Caroline Hedwall. Last week, Pernilla Lindberg finished T7 at the Marathon Classic, closing with a 65.
Ko playing her way into very prominent position
Lydia Ko’s mindset toward success is simple: Just play.
“When I’m out here playing golf I don’t think about what I’ve won or what position I was a week ago,” Ko said. “I just try to think of a week as a whole new week and a day as a whole new day. I think when I kind of realized what I’ve done is in the awards ceremony when they read what you’ve done in the years past.”
Her prominent place at the ceremony is becoming more frequent. Last week’s victory at the Marathon Classic marked her fourth career LPGA title (two as an amateur and two as a professional, both this year) and moved her closer, as the No. 2 golfer, to Stacy Lewis’ spot as the No. 1-ranked golfer in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings.
Here are some statistics to show how much of a factor she has become in the game:
- Here’s a look at Ko’s victories:
|Tournament||Entering Final Rd.||Final Rd.||Won||By|
|2012||CN Canadian Women’s Open||1 Ahead||67||3|
|2013||CN Canadian Women’s Open||1 Behind||64||5|
|2014||Swinging Skirts||1 Behind||69||1 (Birdied 18)|
|2014||Marathon Classic||2 Behind||65||1 (Birdied 18)|
- Making Cuts: Ko has never missed a cut in a LPGA start since debuting as a 14-year-old amateur in February 2012. That includes 32 career starts with four victories, 15 top-10 finishes and a worst finish of T61 (2014 Kia Classic).
- Youngest: Ko became the youngest player in LPGA Tour history (17 years, 2 months, 26 days) to surpass the $1-million mark in career earnings ($1,061,019). She accomplished this in just 17 tournaments – 16 this year and last November’s professional debut at the CME Group Titleholders (a $16,063 check).She has never made less than $4,011 in a week (at this year’s Kia Classic).
Youngest to reach $1 million
17 years, 2 months, 26 days, Lydia Ko in 2014
18 years, 11 months, 18 days, Paula Creamer in 2005
19 years, 5 months, 23 days, Angela Park in 2008
19 years, 5 months, 27 days, Yani Tseng in 2008
19 years, 6 months, 4 days, Shi Hyun Ahn in 2006
- More Youngest to … With four career victories already at age 17, let’s look at some of the current records she has surpassed and those that may be jeopardy:
Lydia Ko, 2012 CN Canadian Women’s Open (72-hole event) at 15 years, 4 months, 2 days *not a member of the LPGA
Lydia Ko, 2013 CN Canadian Women’s Open (72-hole event) at 16 years, 4 months, 1 day*
Lexi Thompson, 2011 Navistar LPGA Classic (72-hole event) at 16 years, 7 months, 8 days
Lydia Ko, 2014 Swinging Skirts Classic (72-hole event) at 17 years, 3 days
Lydia Ko, 2014 Marathon Classic (72-hole event) at 17 years, 2 months, 26 days
Youngest to win a major
Morgan Pressel, 2007 Kraft Nabisco Championship at 18 years, 10 months, 9 days
Lexi Thompson, 2014 Kraft Nabisco Championship, 19 years, 1 month, 27 days
Yani Tseng, 2008 McDonald’s LPGA Championship Presented by Coca-Cola, 19 years, 4 months, 16 days
Inbee Park, 2008 U.S. Women’s Open, 19 years, 11 months, 17 days
Youngest to reach 10 wins
Nancy Lopez, 22 years, 2 months, 5 days, 1979 Sunstar Classic
Yani Tseng, 22 years, 6 months, 8 days, 2011 RICOH Women’s British Open
- Caddies: Ko has had a different caddie for all four of her victories. In Ko’s two victories in the CN Canadian Women’s Open, she hired a local caddie to help her win. In 2012, it was Vancouver Golf Club member Brian Alexander. In 2013, it was Bruce MacMillan, a 20-plus year Royal Mayfair member. Earlier this year at the Swinging Skirts, longtime Lake Merced junior member Domingo Jojola was her caddie. He worked for her at the 2012 U.S. Junior at Lake Merced, where she reached the semifinals. Veteran LPGA caddie Greg Johnston was on her bag last week at the Marathon Classic. Also recall that she hired veteran caddie Mike “Fluff” Cowan, who works regularly for Jim Furyk, for the U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst No. 2.
Despite finishing T25 last week at the Marathon Classic, Stacy Lewis still surpassed her one-season earnings record. She has won $1,944, 434 this year, topping the career-best $1,938,868 she earned in 2013. … Mo Martin followed her Ricoh Women’s British Open title with a T7 last week at the Marathon Classic. She leads the LPGA in Driving Accuracy at .856. She was first last year at 85.7. Mika Miyazato’s 86.2 percentage in 2011 is the all-time best. … All four rounds of the International Crown will be shown live by the Golf Channel: Thursday and Friday from 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., and 3-7 p.m. on the weekend. … The next full-field event is the inaugural Meijer LPGA Classic Aug. 7-10 in Belmont, Mich. (Grand Rapids), the first LPGA stop in Michigan since 2000.