Lydia Ko becomes youngest No. 1 in golf history, Choi Na-yeon wins opener

January 31, 2015

Eclipses Tiger Woods’ mark as the youngest to reach the game’s apex by nearly four years

Lydia Ko, of New Zealand, tosses her ball to a fan after finishing the third round of the LPGA's Coates Golf Championship, Friday, Jan. 30, 2015, in Ocala, Fla. (AP Photo/The Star-Banner, Bruce Ackerman)

Lydia Ko tosses her ball to a fan. (AP Photo/The Star-Banner, Bruce Ackerman)

Na Yeon Choi of South Korea watches her ball fly from the 9th tee during the third round of the LPGA Coates Golf Championship at the Golden Ocala Golf and Equestrian Club in Ocala, Fla. on Friday, Jan. 30, 2015. (AP Photo/The Ocala Star-Banner, Bruce Ackerman)

Everyone is talking about Lydia Ko, but it was Choi Na-yeon who won the season opener. (AP)

OCALA, Fla. (AP) — With a notable double prize not only within reach, but practically in her grip, teen star Lydia Ko had to settle for half of the spoils Saturday — though it represented a significant piece of golf history, nonetheless.

Though the New Zealander blew a late lead and had to settle for a share of second place at the LPGA Tour’s season opener, where she finished a shot behind Na Yeon Choi, the 17-year-old Ko became the youngest player of either gender to reach No. 1 in the world ranking.

Ko, who held a four-shot lead on the front nine of the inaugural Coates Golf Classic, double-bogeyed the 17th hole during a wild closing stretch, but still eclipsed Tiger Woods’ mark as the youngest to reach the game’s apex by nearly four years.

Choi closed with a 4-under 68 to finish at 16 under, a stroke ahead of Ko and Jessica Korda. Ko had a 71, and Korda shot 66.

It’s Choi’s eighth career win on the LPGA Tour, but first since winning the CME Group Titleholders in November of 2012.

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