Lydia Ko 2012 Women's NSW Open Champion
Amateur golfing prodigy Lydia Ko made history by becoming the youngest ever winner of a professional golf event in the world when she held her nerve to take out the 2012 Bing Lee/Samsung Women’s NSW Open at Oatlands Golf Club.
It was a win that proved to be the beginning of a remarkable journey for the prodigious talent from New Zealand – all the way to the top of the world rankings in an impressive three-year run.
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THE WIN: Ko makes history with Canadian Open win
THE HIGHLIGHTS: Watch the action from Lydia’s stunning 2012 victory
THE OPEN: Hail the Champ! Ko wins Women’s Australian Open
THE MAJOR: Ko becomes youngest ever major champion
The 14-year-old put on an incredible display of iron play all week and closed out the tournament with a three-under par 69 to record a resounding four-shot victory.
Ko began her final round with a four-shot cushion over New South Wales Lindsey Wright. It was Wright, however, who got off to the best start with a birdie at the second to close the gap to three shots. She quickly gave back the stroke back with a bogey at the par-3 5th hole, while Ko remained quietly composed.
Lydia Ko in action at the 2012 Women's NSW Open
Wright pulled within two shots of the lead with birdies at the 6th and 7th holes but, sadly, that would be as close as she could get with the young New Zealander unflappable every time she was challenged.
Ko made the turn at 13-under, Wright at 11-under while Becky Morgan and Christie Smith were making up ground in the groups ahead.
Lydia Ko holes a putt on the 18th to become the 2012 Women's NSW Open Champion
The decisive hole seemed to be the 11th where Ko had overshot the green and faced a tough up-and-down, while Wright had a makeable putt from just under 10-feet. Ko hit a good, but not great chip then watched as Wright missed her chance. Ko calmly rolled in her own par putt from 5 feet and with it kept her two-stroke buffer.
The pair went shot for shot over the next three holes, but Ko put the first nail in the coffin when she birdied the 15th. Wright could only make par, and with holes fast running out, the lead was back to three.
Final Scores: 2012 Women's NSW Open
Wright fell away with two more bogeys while Ko kept her blemish-free round intact with a pair of solid pars. By the time Ko walked on to the 18th tee, the championship was hers, and it was only the formalities left.
It was a fairytale finish for Ko following one from the disappointment of 2011, when she led to the final hole, only to be overtaken by Sweden’s Caroline Hedwall.
“I am very happy to win; it means a lot to me.” A shy Ko said to the media after the remarkable win.
Remarkable, too, for the galleries who witnessed her achievement that week; within three years, the 14-year-old bespectacled Kiwi would become a multiple Major Champion and rise to become the best female golfer on the planet.