'Amazing' teen golfer Lydia Ko hailed over major record

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Wellington (AFP) - New Zealand's prime minister led the congratulations Monday after 18-year-old Lydia Ko made golfing history as the youngest winner of a women's major title.

"Amazing stuff," tweeted John Key. "Congratulations on your win at the Evian Championship and becoming the youngest ever major winner in women's golf."

New Zealand's Ko also became the youngest player to claim the world number one ranking in February, when she was still 17, although she is now second behind Park In-bee.

And she holds the record as the youngest winner on the LPGA Tour with the first of her nine victories coming as a 15-year-old amateur at the 2012 Canadian Open.

Ko's legendary coach David Leadbetter described her final round of 63 at Evian, the best round of this year's tournament, as almost perfect.

"She hit basically every green. I think she missed two fairways, just by a yard or two and she putted phenomenally well.

"Her strategy was good -- it was her time basically."

"It was pretty much a perfect round of golf."

Leadbetter added: "At the age of 18 it's incredible what she's done ... The floodgates will really open now that she's won her first major and got that so-called monkey off her back."

Popular news website stuff.co.nz saw Ko going on to become one of New Zealand's finest sporting heroes.

"The stage is now set for Ko to dominate her field and become one of New Zealand's greatest sports stars in the process," it said.

The New Zealand Herald called for a ticker-tape parade to welcome back South Korea-born Ko, as was laid on for Michael Campbell when he won the 2005 US Open.

"Ko has not only reached unbelievable heights for someone so young, but she has struck a blow for women's sport in this country," wrote columnist Chris Rattue.

"She is an absolute and much-loved star, and when she arrives back in her home town in six to eight weeks time it's time to show her that we know that."

The New Zealand Golf website said: "Ko now joins Sir Bob Charles (1963 British Open) and Michael Campbell (2005 US Open) as the only Kiwis to win a golf Major."