Lydia Ko won her first tournament as a professional athlete on Sunday, capturing the Swinging Skirts Ladies Masters title in Taiwan. Afterward, the New Zealand native reflected on how her transition to being a professional has been kept in context by the remarkable musical success of fellow Kiwi Lorde.
Prep Rally has written about Ko before, with the teenage sensation already reaching the heights that many had predicted for former women’s golf sensation Michelle Wie. Ko won the Canadian Open in both 2012 and 2013, at age 15 and 16 respectively, Her success on the course inspired an exemption from the LPGA to allow a player younger than 18 to compete on its tour full time. That exemption was passed in late October. Ko won her first tournament just over a month later.
If that early success might seem hard for a young golfer to keep in perspective, Ko said that her country’s most successful teenager was helping remind her that she isn’t the only 16-year-old dealing with sudden newfound fame.
In an interview with the press after her victory at the Swinging Skirts tournament, a three-stroke edge over South Korea’s So Yeon Ryu, Ko referenced the Billboard topping chart 'Royals' which soared to the top of the global charts in October and November.
"Everybody's asked me 'What's the secret?', you know, 'Do you have a way?' and I don’t really have a secret. Back in New Zealand, Lorde, she’s a New Zealander and she got Billboard number 1. She was 16 when she became number 1, so it shows that I’m not the only 16-year-old who is doing something."
The Swinging Skirts event was Ko’s second since turning pro, following a 21st place finish at the LPGA Titleholders event in November. While this is surely just the beginning of a long professional career for Ko, she said that her family’s support and presence alongside her on the LPGA Tour would ensure she remains grounded.
"I'm just lucky to be able to travel around the world and have my family support me. That's one of the big things for me and I think family support would be a big part of my success."
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