ST. ANDREWS, SCOTLAND and FAR HILLS, N.J. – Matthew Fitzpatrick, of England, and Lydia Ko, of New Zealand, have won the Mark H. McCormack Medals as the leading men’s and women’s amateur players in the 2013 World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR).
Fitzpatrick, 18, has enjoyed an outstanding season, winning the silver medal as the leading amateur at The Open Championship, becoming the first Englishman to win the U.S. Amateur Championship since 1911 and reaching the final of the English Amateur Championship. He secured his place in the field for next year’s Open Championship at Royal Liverpool (Hoylake), the U.S. Open at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club and will receive an invitation to play in the Masters Tournament.
New Zealander Ko has won the McCormack Medal for the third year in succession after another excellent year in which she has played in four major championships and several events on the LPGA Tour as well as other worldwide professional events. The 16-year-old’s best finish of the year was a tie for third in the ISPS Handa Australian Women’s Open, and she also tied for 17th in the Wegmans LPGA Championship and 25th in the Kraft Nabisco Championship. Ko won the 2012 U.S. Women’s Amateur at The Country Club in Cleveland, Ohio.
The R&A and United States Golf Association award recognizes the outstanding performances of both players this year. Fitzpatrick was ranked No. 2 before overtaking Cheng-Tsung Pan following his 4-and-3 victory on Aug. 18 over Australian Oliver Goss, ranked eighth in the WAGR, in the 36-hole final of the 2013 U.S. Amateur Championship at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass. Ko, who won the inaugural Women’s McCormack Medal in 2011, has led the rankings for 122 weeks.
Fitzpatrick said, “I’m absolutely delighted to win the McCormack Medal. For this to come along at the same time as winning the U.S. Amateur Championship is really special. I had a fair idea that if I had a good finish I might be able to scrape it but it was great that it went my way. It has been an amazing few weeks for me ever since The Open and I am really happy to have achieved so much.”
Ko said, “It means a lot. And to have won the medal three years in a row makes it more special.
"It’s awesome. To have maintained my position for the last three years has been meaningful. I won the U.S. Women’s Amateur last year. I wanted to win that championship so much and to have won it, it was great. Without winning it I may not have been able to maintain my position.”
John Bodenhamer, USGA Senior Managing Director, Rules, Competitions & Amateur Status, said, "On behalf of the USGA, I extend our congratulations to both Matt and Lydia for their outstanding performances in the last competitive year. We are impressed by their record of successes, particularly at spotlight events. They have earned our respect for their talents as golfers as well as their positions in the WAGR, which continually showcases the quantity and quality of amateur golf around the world.”
Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, Executive Director of Championships at The R&A, said, “I would like to congratulate Matthew and Lydia on winning the McCormack Medals. To maintain such a high level of consistency throughout the year is impressive but to compete in major championships, as both players have done this year, is exceptional.
“WAGR is an important tool for measuring the performances of amateur players around the world and highlighting the quality of players we have at the elite level of the men’s and women’s games.”
The World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR), which is supported by Rolex, was established in 2007 when the men’s ranking was launched. The Men’s WAGR encompasses more than 2,900 counting events, ranking more than 6,500 players representing 100 countries worldwide. The women’s ranking was launched in 2011 and has a calendar of more than 1,700 counting events with over 3,400 ranked players representing 78 countries worldwide.
Fitzpatrick won the 2012 Boys Amateur Championship at Notts (Hollinwell) Golf Club. He came through Local Final Qualifying to secure his place in The Open Championship at Muirfield. After finishing with a 10-over-par total of 294 he won the silver medal as the leading amateur.
His good form continued when he reached the final of the English Amateur Championship where he lost by 4 and 3 to Callum Shinkwin, and on Aug. 18 he won the U.S. Amateur at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., becoming the first Englishman to do so since Harold Hilton in 1911. Fitzpatrick was named to the 2013 Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup Team, which will face the USA at the National Golf Links of America in Southampton, N.Y., on September 7 and 8. After that event he will play collegiate golf at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.
Ko became one of the youngest winners of a professional golf championship, in 2012, when she won the New South Wales Open on the Australian Ladies Professional Golf Tour at age 14. She also won the Australian Women’s Amateur and was runner-up in the Australian Women’s Stroke Play Championship. In last year’s U.S. Women’s Open, Ko received the silver medal as the leading amateur and she was a semifinalist at the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship.