World number one Lydia Ko will test herself against the elite of women’s golf in this year’s U.S. Women’s Open. Ko, who has topped the World Amateur Golf Ranking for over 40 weeks, takes her place in the championship after the United States Golf Association (USGA) revised its exemption categories.
Ko has already excelled in the professional game. The 14-year-old became one of the youngest winners of a pro tournament when she won this year’s New South Wales Open in Australia.
The precocious schoolgirl competes in this week’s LPGA Australian Open, where she was presented with the Mark H McCormack medal as the world’s leading amateur in 2011.
The US Women’s Open takes place 5-8 July at Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wisconsin.
Australia’s Breanna Elliot makes a significant move on this week’s WAGR table. She improves her world ranking by 17 spots, moving to world number 25. Elliot is now the world’s second highest ranked Australian behind Minjee Lee, the world number six.
Justin Thomas overcame a five-shot, final round deficit to win the prestigious Jones Cup Invitational at Ocean Forest Golf Club in St Simons Island, Georgia.
Thomas, in his first year at the University of Alabama, began the final round chasing Manav Shah. Thomas was still two strokes off the lead when he stood on the 14th tee. However, he reeled off back-to-back birdies at 14 and 15 and went on to shoot 69 to win by two shots.
Scores of 72 and 75 preceded his closing 69 to give Thomas a three-round total of 216, level par. Shah’s closing 76 earned him second place. England’s Ben Taylor finished third, while Ireland’s Kevin Phelan was fourth.
Thomas moves up 26 places on this week’s World Amateur Golf Ranking to 28th. Shah improves 37 places to 44th.
Jeffrey Kang also moves inside the world top 50. Kang won the Amer Ari Invitational at Waikoloa Beach Resort in Hawaii. The University of Southern California player defeated world number two Jordan Spieth in a playoff. World number three Patrick Rodgers finish third, two shots out of the playoff.
Kang and Spieth were the only players in the field to return scores in the 60s. Kang recorded scores of 67, 69 and 69 for an 11 under-par total of 205. Kang moves to world number 33, an improvement of 28 spots.
Anton Arboleda of the Philippines is the only player to break inside this week’s top 20. He moves six spots to 15th courtesy of joint 9th place behind Kang.
This week also saw the United States Golf Association (USGA) announce that Australia’s Bryden Macpherson and world number one Patrick Cantlay will compete in this year’s U.S. Open at the Olympic Club, San Francisco, 14-17 June after revisions to its exemption categories. Macpherson became the second Australian to win the Amateur Championship when he triumphed at Hillside Golf Club last year. Cantlay ended 2011 as the Mark H McCormack Medal winner as the world’s leading amateur.