Lydia Ko, the world’s No. 1-ranked female amateur, has accepted a spot into the 2012 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship. Ko informed championship officials of her decision on Tuesday. The competition at Lake Merced Golf Club in Daly City, Calif., is scheduled to begin on Monday and concludes July 21.
The 15-year-old from New Zealand became exempt into the championship this past weekend when she completed 72 holes at the 67th U.S. Women’s Open at Blackwolf Run. Ko, who shot a final-round 75 and was one of three amateurs out of 28 to make the 36-hole cut, earned low-amateur honors by one stroke over 18-year-old Emma Talley, of Princeton, Ky.
Although Ko originally did not enter the U.S. Girls’ Junior by the May 30 deadline, the USGA files blank entries for anyone who becomes exempt for the championship after entries close. Ko has entered the 2012 U.S. Women’s Amateur at The Country Club in Cleveland (Aug. 6-12) and she’ll compete in the Women’s British Open this September at Royal Liverpool.
Ko currently attends the Institute of Golf in Auckland and came to the U.S. two weeks ago to play in the U.S. Women’s Open. She was fully exempt into the Open by virtue of winning the 2011 Mark H. McCormack Medal for being the top-ranked female amateur, according to the World Amateur Golf Rankings supported by the USGA and The R&A.
Earlier this year, Ko won the Australian Amateur and the Women’s New South Wales Open, becoming the youngest winner of a professional event (14 years, 9 months), the same tournament she was the runner-up at in 2011 by one stroke to Caroline Hedwall.
Last August, Ko was the co-medalist at the U.S. Women’s Amateur conducted at Rhode Island Country Club and advanced to the round of 32, where she fell to 2010 USA Curtis Cup member Stephanie Kono. Ko also represented New Zealand at the 2010 Women’s World Amateur Team Championship in Argentina and is likely to play in that competition again this fall in Turkey.