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Lydia Ko is now the 7th ranked player in the world despite being just 16 (and an amateur!)

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Lydia Ko — Getty Images

On Sunday at the CN Canadian Women's Open, a familiar name was atop the leaderboard, someone a lot expected to have a good week considering her past at this event.

The problem was, the person in question was a 16-year-old amateur that has left more money on the table by not playing as a professional than most of us will make in a lifetime.

Lydia Ko won on Sunday by five shots over a field that included Paula Creamer, Stacy Lewis, and Inbee Park, a stacked field like most every LPGA field is these days. It was the second straight year that Ko won this event, meaning at 16-years-old she has more wins than names like Natalie Gulbis and as many LPGA titles as Michelle Wie.

So the big question remains, when does Ko turn pro? In these two events alone she has left $600,000 on the table by playing as an amateur, and while I'm normally an advocate for staying amateur as long as possible and learning how to play, and win, on every possible level, Ko has already shown that isn't a problem at the highest level in women's golf.

This win moved Ko up to No. 7 in the world, higher than I.K. Kim, Cristie Kerr and Ai Miyazato, with two LPGA titles and a win at the New Zealand Women's Open earlier this year.

At 16, Ko averaged 271 yards off the tee this week at the Royal Mayfair Golf Club, a number that would have her second on the LPGA in driving distance is she averaged that all season, and on Sunday, trailing Caroline Hedwall by a shot, she birdied five of her first eight holes, turning in 30 and adding two more birdies on the back for a final round 64.

It isn't that she's talented, it's that she is one of the most talented females on the planet, and the age and the pressure and the stage doesn't seem to affect her.

Asked on Sunday evening about turning pro, Ko gave a quote like a veteran.

"I've got some people above me like my mom and dad, they're the boss," Ko said. "They're going to help me to make the right decision and to turn pro at what time. I think as I'm only 16 still, it's quite hard to make huge decisions. When I turn pro it's like a job. Money is all about it and everything like that, every shot counts. Yeah, I think my parents and New Zealand golf they're all going to have a say, and hopefully we'll make a really good decision on when I will turn pro."

In Ko's two wins at the Canadian Open, she has combined to shoot 28-under par, never posting a round in the 70s.

I might not be in charge of her decision making, but I think it's time to earn money for this type of effort.

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