Lydia Ko’s successful defense of her CN Canadian Women’s Open title proved yet again why she is the world’s leading amateur player. The 16-year-old New Zealander has had a stranglehold on the World Amateur Golf Ranking number one spot for over two years.
It seems her position is impregnable. The only thing that can knock her off her lofty perch is her decision to turn professional. That may now come sooner rather than later.
Ko had been contemplating college golf in the United States, but there is talk she will skip the college ranks to jump straight into the LPGA. She certainly has the talent to do just that.
The precocious teenager ran out a five-shot winner in Edmonton, Canada after rounds of 65, 69, 67 and 64 for a 15-under-par total of 265. It was her 10th LPGA tournament of the season. Ko’s next tournament is the Evian Championship on Sept. 12-15 in Evian-les-Bains, France.
Ko became the first player to defend an LPGA title since former number one Yani Tseng won the 2011 Ricoh Women’s British Open. Ko has now won four professional tournaments.
The New Zealander has played 14 LPGA tournaments in the last two years and won twice. The LPGA has a rule that only women over the age of 18 can join. Ko doesn’t turn 17 until April 24 next year, which means she wouldn’t be able to join the LPGA until April 2015. However, the LPGA can make exceptions. Lexi Thomson was allowed to join at age 16 after she won an LPGA event.
There is no doubt Ko is exceptional, and the LPGA would have little choice in allowing her to join.
China’s Yan Jing moves into this week’s top 20 after winning the Ladies' British Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship. Jing improves 13 places to 20th.
Get ready for the crème de la crème of world amateur golf in next week’s Walker Cup at the National Golf Links in Southampton, New York. Some of the best players on the World Amateur Golf Ranking will be on display as Great Britain & Ireland attempt to defend the title they won in 2011 (The winning team pictured, right, with the Walker Cup) when they defeated the United States 14 - 12 at Royal Aberdeen.
Five of the world’s top 10 are playing, including the number one, two and three players in the world. Five of the WAGR top 10 are in action, 12 of the top 20 and 15 of the world top 30. Only four players are outside the world top 50.
England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick leads the way. Fitzpatrick recently won the U.S. Amateur Championship to become world number one and earn the Mark H. McCormack medal as the world’s leading amateur for 2013. He has close competition in world numbers two and three Michael Kim and Cory Whitsett of the United States.
Patrick Rodgers, the world number five, makes it three Americans in the world top five. England’s Max Orrin is world number seven to give GB&I two top 10 players. The U.S. features another two top 20 players in Justin Thomas (12) and NCAA Champion Max Homa (13), while GB&I features another five from the top 20 in English Amateur Champion Callum Shinkwin (11), Amateur Champion Garrick Porteous (15), Brabazon Trophy winner Jordan Smith (16), St Andrews Links Trophy winner Neil Raymond (18) and Nathan Kimsey (20).
Michael Weaver (22), Jordan Niebrugge (23) and Bobby Wyatt (28) are all in the world top 30. Ireland’s Kevin Phelan (47) makes it 16 top 50 players. Only U.S. players Todd White (101) and Nathan Smith (148), and GB&I Players Gavin Moynihan (132) and Rhys Pugh (344) are outside the world top 100. Both Smith and Pugh played in the last match.