The Lydia Ko legacy continued to grow this week in Taiwan as the 18-year old broke more records, set personal milestones and reclaimed the No. 1 spot in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings with her nine-stroke victory at the Fubon LPGA Taiwan Championship. Ko shot a final-round of 7-under 65 to finish well ahead of Eun-Hee Ji and Se Yeon Ryu for a 20-under par 268 total.
The win marks Ko’s 10th career LPGA Tour victory and she becomes the youngest male or female to reach 10 wins at 18 years, 6 months and 1 day old. She breaks Nancy Lopez’s LPGA record (22y/2m/5d) by nearly 3 ½ years.
Ko dedicated the win to former New Zealand Golf President Patsy Hankins who passed away earlier this week and someone Ko considers a mentor in her junior days.
“And I think I was really playing for Patsy this week,” said Ko. “I think just hearing that on Friday morning broke my heart. She was such a huge factor into my life in my junior golf. To hear that she had passed away was very hard to hear that before you’re entering a round. But kind of just played for her the last three days, and I’m so happy that I can bring this win to her and her family.”
Ko’s nine-stroke margin of victory marks the largest of her career and largest on Tour this season. She won her first major title last month by six shots at the Evian Championship.
Ko started the day with a four-shot lead over Eun-Hee Ji and looked unflappable throughout her final round of 65, which included six birdies, one bogey and an eagle. She birdied four of her first six holes to extend her lead to six and dropped her only shot on the par-3, 7th hole.
“I started the day quite good, making birdies on 2 and 3 and I then I made birdie on 5 which is a three-shot swing for me,” said Ko. “Made a double there yesterday.”
Eun-Hee Ji failed to take advantage of Ko’s birdie drought on holes 8-11 then Ko turned it on with a pitch in eagle on the par-4 12th hole to go ahead by seven. A birdie putt on No. 14 extended her lead to eight and then sealed the deal in style chipping from a tough greenside lie to a foot on the 18th for birdie.
“I hit a good tee shot. Pulled my 3-wood a little bit, but then I looked up and I told Jason, ‘I can’t even see the ball properly.’ So it wasn’t the greatest lie. And I was actually worried I was going to double-hit it, so I kind of recoiled back. But no, it ended up being good. Yeah, I don’t mind one-footers to win the event.”
Ko now leads the Tour in nearly every major statistical category including Official Money, Race to CME Globe Points, Scoring Average, Rolex Player of the Year and Top-10’s.