At just 14 years old, Korean-born Aucklander and amateur golfer Lydia Ko won the New South Wales Open, setting a new world record as the youngest person to win a professional gold title. Lydia's confident and relaxed style was a marvel to her adult, professional competitors:
Highlighting the increasingly youthful golf scene, Ko had herself surpassed a record only set in September 2011 by 16-year-old Lexi Thompson. The record that Thompson replaced was a long standing one set in 1952 by 18-year-old Marlene Hagge.
Then in August, proving her result in the NSW Open was no fluke, Ko became the youngest-ever winner of an LPGA Tour event at the CN Canadian Women's Open, winning the tournament at the age of 15 years 4 months and 2 days. Ko is only the fifth amateur female to have won on the LPGA and the first in over 40 years.
Her composure in the limelight on and off the course makes it easy to forget just how young she is. While many of her competitors were already making a living on the LPGA, Lydia was still skipping and cart-wheeling around golf courses as a lively eight year old. Sports Inc caught up with Lydia's coach Guy Wilson to reflect on her early days in golf:
Lydia Ko swinging to LPGA stardom as an 8-year-old
Ko finished 2012 as the the top-ranked female amateur in the world and with missing hundreds of thousands of dollars in winnings because of her amateur status, Lydia and her family will be giving serious consideration as to how soon she turns pro.