If there were any doubts about Lydia Ko’s status as number one player on the World Amateur Golf Ranking, then she dispelled them with a runaway victory in the World Amateur Team Championship in Antalya, Turkey.
Quite simply, Ko was head and shoulders above the elite of women’s world golf. The 15-year-old took individual honours with scores of 70, 69, 67 and 68 for a 14-under-par total of 274, six shots ahead of Finland’s Krista Bakker and Camilla Hedberg of Sweden.
The Republic of Korea trio of Hyo-Joo Kim, Kyu-Jung Baek and Min-Sun Kim couldn’t match Ko’s four round total. They combined for a 13-under-par total of 563 to win the team title by three shots over Germany. It is only the second time in the history of the event that a team has successfully defended the title. Korea, winners two years ago in Buenos Aires, Argentina, follows the United States in 1988 and 1990 as back-to-back champions.
Finland and Australia tied for third place on 567, four shots behind Korea. Ko’s New Zealand team finished in joint fifth place alongside Spain. Canada placed seventh on 569, while the USA was a further shot back in eighth.
While Korean women continue to maintain centre stage in women’s golf, Ko’s place at the top of the world order is undisputed. By finishing leading individual, Ko caps a season that has saw her win the US Women’s Amateur Championship, two professional tournaments – the New South Wales Open and Canadian Women’s Open – and take the amateur prizes in both the US Women’s Open and Women’s British Open.
Ko was awarded the Mark H McCormack Medal as leading woman amateur on the 2012 World Amateur Golf Ranking at the closing ceremony in Turkey.
Bakker jumps 95 places on this week’s ranking to 227th, while Hedberg improves four spots to world number 28.
Amateur enthusiasts have much to savour this week as 72 teams gather in Antalya, Turkey, to compete in the World Amateur Team Championship. The tournament is a who’s who of the World Amateur Golf Ranking.
Chris Williams of the United States, recent recipient of the Mark H McCormack Medal as leading amateur on the 2012 World Amateur Golf Ranking, spearheads a field that includes five of the WAGR table’s top 10. William’s plays with US teammate Justin Thomas, the world number three, while world number two Daan Huizing represents the Netherlands.
Frenchman Julien Brun, world number eight, arrives in Turkey fresh from winning on the European Challenge Tour. The student of Texas Christian University made his debut recently on Europe’s junior circuit and won the ALLIANZ Golf Open Toulouse Metropole. Sweden’s Robert Karlsson, ranked 9th, completes the list of top 10 players.
Other notables in the field include Steven Fox, the reigning US Amateur Champion. He will form a formidable partnership for the United States along with Williams and Thomas. Asian Amateur champion Hideki Matsuyama, the world number 17, turns out for Japan. Alan Dunbar represents Ireland. World number 22 Dunbar won this year’s Amateur Championship at Royal Troon.
All told, 36 of the world top 100 are in the field in what promises to be an exciting showdown for the famed Eisenhower Trophy.
Tom Berry of England won the Ping-Golfweek Preview and moves 130 places on this week’s ranking to world number 151. Berry, a student at San Diego State returned rounds of 67, 69 and 72 for a 54-hole total of 208 at the Capital City Club in Alpharetta, Georgia. He won by two shots over eight players, including world number one Chris Williams and US Amateur runner-up Michael Weaver.