ST. ANDREWS, Scotland -- Lydia Ko will receive the Mark H. McCormack Medal as the leading women’s amateur player in the World Amateur Golf Rankings for the second consecutive year, officials from the R&A and U.S. Golf Association have announced.
The 15-year-old New Zealander secured the top ranking after winning the U.S. Women’s Amateur at The Country Club in Cleveland, Ohio on Sunday. She defeated Jaye Marie Green, 18, from Florida 3&1 in the final.
Ko received the inaugural medal as the top-ranked women’s amateur player in 2011 and has enjoyed continued success in 2012. In January she became one of the youngest winners of a professional golf championship when she won the New South Wales Open on the Australian Ladies Professional Golf Tour at age 14. She also won the Australian Women’s Amateur and was runner-up in the Australian Women’s Stroke Play Championship. At this year’s U.S. Women’s Open, Ko received the silver medal as the leading amateur and she was a semifinalist at the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship.
The R&A and U.S. Golf Association award recognizes Ko’s remarkable season. She has led the ranking for 68 consecutive weeks and will gain a place in the 2013 U.S. Women’s Open.
“I'd like to thank the USGA and The R&A because without them, the ranking wouldn't be possible,” said Ko. “It gets me to places where normal people can't go, and it's a great honor.
“It's pretty amazing. After I got the medal last year, I haven't lost the No. 1 position since then,” she added. “I became world No. 1 on my birthday last year. It's good to continue it. I'll continue to get more invites to professional events. It's always good to be World No. 1.
“People read "New Zealand No. 1" and then "World No. 1," it's totally different. It's good and it's good to have your name along with those big names. There are so many great players’ names on there.”
The Women’s WAGR ranking has a calendar of 2,000 counting events with over 3,600 ranked players representing 88 countries worldwide. The women’s ranking was established in 2007 when the men’s amateur ranking was launched.
Ko rose to prominence as a 12 year-old when she finished as the leading amateur in the 2010 Pegasus New Zealand Women’s Open in a tie for seventh and became one of the youngest women to make the cut at a Ladies’ European Tour event. In 2011, she became the first player to win the Australian Ladies’ Stroke Play and New Zealand Ladies’ Stroke Play championships in the same year. She was also the co-medalist at the U.S. Women’s Amateur before being knocked out in the second round of match play.