Jamie Moul, England
2007 – World number one for 16 weeks
Jamie Moul looked set for a big future in professional golf when he reached the top of the World Amateur Golf Ranking®. The Chelmsford, England native had the season of his young life in 2007. He shared victory in the Brabazon Trophy, the English Amateur Stroke Play Championship, with France’s Romain Bechu. That win cemented his place in the Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup team at Royal County Down alongside Rory McIlroy and Danny Willett, partnering Willett in foursomes play.
Moul played in all four sessions, earning one and half points, including a singles victory over Chris Kirk, as GB&I lost by a point (11.5-12.5) to one of the strongest U.S teams ever. That side featured future PGA Tour stars Rickie Fowler, Billy Horschel, Kyle Stanley, Dustin Johnson and Webb Simpson.
The Englishman turned pro immediately after the Walker Cup, but found success hard to come by in the professional game. After three failed trips to the European Tour Qualifying School, Moul gained a foothold on the European Tour courtesy of winning the 2011 Acaya Open on the European Challenge Tour. That victory helped Moul finish eighth on the Challenge Tour money list to earn his 2012 European Tour card. However, Moul made just seven cuts in 24 starts on the main tour, and found himself back on the Challenge Tour the following year. That 2012 season was Moul’s only experience of top flight European golf.
Moul made five further attempts at the Qualifying School before becoming a successful teaching professional at Stoke by Nayland Golf Club in Essex, the club where he learned to play the game.
Lydia Ko, New Zealand
2011 – World number one for 131 weeks
Unlike Moul, Ko had no trouble adapting to the professional game. That was hardly surprising for a child prodigy. Ko made headlines in the royal and ancient game shortly after reaching her teenage years.
The Korean-born New Zealander rocketed to the top of the WAGR® table in April 2011 after winning the New Zealand Women’s Stroke Play Championship to go victory in the previous month’s Australian Women’s Amateur Stroke Play. The 13 year old was the first player to win both titles in the same year. The following year she finished low individual in the World Amateur Team Championship in Turkey.
Apart from racking up numerous amateur titles, Ko won four professional tournaments as an amateur – the 2012 and 2013 CN Canadian Women’s Open Championships, the 2012 Bing Lee Samsung Women’s NSW Open and the 2013 ISPS Handa New Zealand Women’s Open. Her 2012 Canadian Women’s Open victory made her the youngest winner in LPGA history at aged 15 years, four months and two days.
Ko won the Mark H McCormack Medal as the world’s leading amateur for three successive years between 2011-2013.
LPGA Tour membership for the 2014 season was waiting for Ko when she turned professional in October 2013, courtesy of her Canadian Women’s Open victories. Three victories in her rookie 2014 season saw her finish third on the LPGA money list.
The following season she became the youngest player, male or female, to reach world number one. She was just 17 years, 9 months and 9 days old.
She won five times in 2015, including her first major, the Evian Championship, making her the youngest women’s major winner at age 18 years, 4 months and 20 days. She also finished number one on the LPGA money list.
The 2016 season saw Ko win her second major with victory in the ANA Inspiration. She also took the silver medal in the Olympic Games in Rio.
In total, she has won 15 times on the LPGA Tour.