Lydia Ko’s status as the world’s number one ranked woman amateur is indisputable. Winning the US Women’s Amateur Championship at The Country Club in Cleveland is proof the 15-year-old is a class apart in women’s amateur golf.
The New Zealander entered the 112th edition of the US Women’s Amateur the number one player on the World Amateur Golf Ranking, and lived up to her billing by defeating Jaye Marie Green of the United States 2&1 in the scheduled 36-hole final.
Ko’s dominance of world golf is such that she repeats as winner of the Mark McCormack Medal as the world’s leading female amateur for the second straight year. Ko was the inaugural winner of the prestigious award last year, and a worthy winner this year too.
Aside from winning the US Women’s Amateur, Ko was leading amateur in this year’s US Women’s Open. She also made history early this year when she became the youngest winner of a professional tournament. Ko was just 14-years-old when she triumphed in the New South Wales Open. That win eclipsed the record set by Ryo Ishikawa’s victory on the Japanese Tour as a 15-year-old.
Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn has been threatening Ko’s reign as world number one for much of this year after a string of impressive victories. However, Ko put paid to that notion by defeating the world number two 3&1 in the semi finals of the US Amateur.
Green bettered Nicole Zhang by two holes to reach the final. Green moves three places on this week’s ranking to fourth. Zhang leaps 682 spots to 105th.
Ko’s position at the top of the world order could last for some time to come. Despite the lure of professional golf, Ko wants to play college golf before she turns professional.
What chance of a third Mark McCormack Medal for the precocious teenager?
Welshman Rhys Pugh makes a dramatic move on this week’s World Amateur Golf Ranking thanks to the biggest win of his life. Pugh is the European Amateur champion after winning the championship by a shot over countryman James Frazer at Carton House in Ireland.
Walker Cup player Pugh began the final round eight shots off the lead held by Sweden’s Pontus Widegren. However, Widegren struggled to a 77 to finish joint fourth, while Pugh closed with a 66 to go with earlier rounds of 68, 71 and 72 for a 72-hole total of 277, 11-under-par. Denmark’s Thomas Sorensen was third, two strokes behind Pugh.
Pugh, who as just completed his first year at East Tennessee State University, earns a spot in next year’s Open Championship at Muirfield as a result.
Pugh moves 192 places to 137th on this week’s ranking. Frazer improves 66 spots to 46th, while Sorensen becomes world number 139, a jump of 120 places. Widegren moves up 15 places to 72nd.
Mackenzie Hughes maintains his status as world number 90 after winning the Canadian Amateur Championship for the second consecutive year. Hughes took the title at Camelot Golf and Country Club in Cumberland, Ontario.
Rounds of 72, 67, 65 and 72 gave Hughes a 12-under-par score of 276 and a one shot victory over compatriots Brian Churchill-Smith and Chris Hemmerich. Hughes, a recent graduate of Kent State University, receives an invite into the 2013 Canadian Open as a result.
Austria’s Matthias Schwab is the only player this week to break into the top 20. He improves six places to world number 16.
Chase Seiffert of the United States joins Frazer in this week’s top 50 after a jump of 22 places to 37th.