New Zealand’s Lydia Ko has been presented with the inaugural Mark H McCormack Medal for 2011 by women’s world number two Suzann Pettersen.

The award goes to the top-ranked amateur golfer in the women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking. Ko will also now receive a place in the US Women’s Open as a result.

Last month saw Ko become the youngest ever winner of a professional event after claiming the Women’s New South Wales Open.

On receiving the award, Ko said: “It is an amazing honour to be the first ever recipient of this award, and follow in the footsteps of fellow Kiwi Danny Lee. This award sure was the cherry on the top for an amazing year for my team and me.

“To receive it from a Major winner such as Suzann Pettersen makes something amazing even better. She is someone I have looked up to throughout my career and to be here competing against her this week is going to be real fun.

“I could not in my wildest dreams have expected the start to 2012, I mean 2011 was crazy, and this is even better. I can’t wait to tee it up this week and test myself against the very best in the women’s game. This is where I want to be when I grow up, so to be able to do it when I am 14, it’s going to be real cool.”

Pettersen, who presented Ko with the medal during practice at the LPGA’s ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open at Royal Melbourne, was performing the duty as part of her role as an R&A Working for Golf Ambassador.

The women’s number two said: “Like everyone else I have been hugely impressed with Lydia’s success. What she has already achieved at the tender age of 14 is completely unprecedented in our sport.

“Her all round game is incredible but what has impressed me the most is the way she has taken success in her stride and kept a down-to-earth attitude.”