Child’s Play

December 10, 2013

16-yr. old Lydia Ko wins her first title as professional

It didn't take long for Lydia Ko to win as a professional. (Yonhap)

It didn’t take long for Lydia Ko to win as a professional. (Yonhap)

By Lee Kyutae

It only took two starts for Lydia Ko to register her first win as a professional.

The 16-year-old Korean New Zealander rallied to win the Swinging Skirts World Ladies Masters title on Sunday in Taipei, Taiwan. She closed with a 4-under-68 to put away the 2011 U.S. Women’s Open champion Ryu So Yeon, and top-ranked Park Inbee, who finished second and third, respectively.

Ko had already won four pro events as an amateur, including the Canadian Women’s Open the last two years. The only difference is that she actually gets to keep the prize money this time. Ko finished with an 11-under 205 total at Linkou Miramar and earned $150,000 in the event sanctioned by the Taiwanese and Korean tours.

Ryu finished second, three stokes behind Ko, and Park was third after shooting a seven-under-par-70.

Ko had tied for 21st last month in her professional debut at the LPGA Titleholders and it didn’t look good on Sunday when she fell three shots behind Ryu with only nine holes remaining. But she scored consecutive birdies on the tenth and the eleventh holes to close the gap and took the lead for good when Ryu stumbled with a four-putt double bogey on the fourteenth hole.