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15-year-old Lydia Ko wins in Canada, becomes youngest LPGA winner

CBSSports.com wire reports
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Lydia Ko gets the Royal (Canadian Mounted Police) treatment after her historic victory. (Getty Images)  
Lydia Ko gets the Royal (Canadian Mounted Police) treatment after her historic victory. (Getty Images)  

COQUITLAM, British Columbia -- Lydia Ko won the Canadian Women's Open on Sunday to become the youngest winner in LPGA Tour history and only the fifth amateur champion.

The 15-year-old South Korean-born New Zealander closed with a 5-under 67 for a three-stroke victory. She broke the age record of 16 set by Lexi Thompson last September in the Navistar LPGA Classic in Alabama, and is the first amateur winner since JoAnne Carner in the 1969 Burdine's Invitational.

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"To break another record, or being in the history, it's amazing, and it's always awesome to be able to play with the pros," Ko said. "The last few holes, it got a bit nerve wracking, but Stacy Lewis after my birdie on 15 she said, 'You know you can do it.' It was really great to have another player that I look up to giving me that much support. So it was really awesome."

In January, Ko won the New South Wales Open in Australia at 14 to become the youngest player to win a professional tour event, a mark broken by 14-year-old Brooke Henderson in June in a 36-hole Canadian Women's Tour event in Quebec. Ko also won the U.S. Women's Amateur two weeks ago in Cleveland.

"I didn't cry after this one," said Ko, but [after] that one I did cry," Ko said, referencing the U.S. Women's Amateur. "Yeah, to me, U.S. Amateur is a big event, and obviously this is a huge event as well. But still, as an amateur winning one of the biggest amateur events, I feel like it was a better win -- even though this one was awesome."

Ko finished at 13-under 275 at The Vancouver Golf Club, pulling away with birdies on five of the first six holes on the back nine. She opened with back-to-back 68s and shot a 72 on Saturday to take a one-stroke lead into the final round.

"I was most impressed with just her demeanor," said Lewis, who tied for sixth at 7 under. "I mean you would have never known that it was the final round of an LPGA event. She played like she had been there before."

Inbee Park shot a 69 to finish second.

Park chipped in for birdie on the final hole, and Ko closed with a bogey to make it closer.

"The pressure she was handling is really amazing," Park said. "I'm really happy for her. It's great for her career -- and I think I was just lucky to get the winner's check today."

Park's $300,000 check as the top pro moved her past Lewis for the season money lead with $1,419,940.

U.S. Women's Open champion Na Yeon Choi, Chella Choi and Jiyai Shin tied for third at 8 under. Na Yeon Choi had a 73, and Chella Choi and Shin shot 71.

The glove Ko wore in the final round will be displayed in the World Golf Hall of Fame.

"To have something that's mine to be up there, it's amazing, and it doesn't come down or anything," she said. "So it will always remain there, and it'll be a good memory. It's been an awesome week."

Ko plans to remain an amateur and go to college in the United States, possibly at Stanford.

"I'll still remain an amateur and then finish high school and then go to college," Ko said. "I mean this is a great win, but I don't think this will affect me changing my roots to my career."

She was headed to her native South Korea on Monday. She will return to the tour next month for the Women's British Open.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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