Na Yeon Choi of South Korea won her first LPGA Tour event in two years at the Coates Golf Championship, where Lydia Ko's runner-up finish meant she became the youngest ever golf world number one
Na Yeon Choi of South Korea has entered the winners circle again, but history was made as teen sensation Lydia Ko became the youngest ever golf world number one at Coates Golf Championship.
Seventeen-year-old Ko eclipses Tiger Woods, who was 21 when he became men’s world number one in 1997, and South Korean Jiyai Shin, who was previously the youngest player to top the women’s rankings at 22 in 2010.
Going into the final day, Ko was leading the championship, but a double bogey at the 17th meant she threw away a four shot lead. That let Choi come away with the win, as she held off Ko, Jessica Korda and Ha Na Jang by a single stroke.
A dramatic final round saw Choi and Ko battle it out for the win at the inaugural event. Choi took advantage of the lead at the 17th when Ko tried to hit a fade from a fairway bunker but ended up finding the trees.
That meant a par at 18 was enough for Choi, who claimed her eighth career win, and her first on the LPGA Tour in just over two years.
“I’ve had a lot of stress from results,” Choi said. “Even if I finish top 10, or top five, not many say, `You did a good job.'”
Ko didn’t know she was to become the new world number one until she was informed after signing her scorecard. She said: ““It’s amazing. I didn’t know that, I didn’t really know what I needed to do to get in that position. All I was focused was try and play my best out here today. I’m just going to focus on my golf, not think about the rankings.”
During a tough day of scoring Korda had one of the best rounds, as she shot 66 to jump up the leader board, while Azahara Muñoz of Spain finished as the leading European in a tie for 13th.
Coates Golf Championship presented by R&L Carriers
Golden Ocala Golf and Equestrian Club, Ocala, Florida
Jan 28-31, purse $1,500,000, par 72
1 Na Yeon Choi, $225,000 68-70-66-68—272
T2 Jessica Korda, $104,587 66-72-69-66—273
T2 Ha Na Jang, $104,587 67-65-71-70—273
T2 Lydia Ko, $104,587 68-69-65-71—273
5 Amy Yang, $61,979 74-68-65-71—278
6 Alison Walshe, $50,710 74-71-68-66—279
7 Brittany Lang, $42,446 74-69-67-70—280
T8 Sun Young Yoo, $33,681 70-72-70-69—281
T8 So Yeon Ryu, $33,681 72-67-70-72—281