Lydia Ko described it as an honor to receive the Mark H. McCormack Medal as the leading women’s amateur golfer for a third year in a row.
The McCormack Medal award is presented by The R&A and the USGA, which jointly administer the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR), and recognizes Ko’s outstanding performance in leading the ranking again this year.
The 16-year-old New Zealander followed up her second successive victory in the CN Canadian Women’s Open on the LPGA Tour by finishing second behind Norway’s Suzann Pettersen at the recent Evian Championship to cap another successful year. Ko received the McCormack Medal from Pettersen, who is one of three R&A Working for Golf Ambassadors.
The Evian was Ko’s fifth major championship appearance of the season and she played in several events on the LPGA Tour as well as professional events in Asia and Australasia. She finished tied third in the ISPS Handa Australian Women’s Open, tied 17th in the Wegmans LPGA Championship and 25th in the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
“I am very proud and honored to win the McCormack Medal for a third time,” said Ko. “I know there are many talented young amateurs playing at the elite level around the world so I am delighted to have finished number one in the WAGR once again.”
Pettersen praised Ko’s achievements this year. “Lydia has played brilliantly this year and shown just how good a player she is. She put me under a lot of pressure at the Evian and showed she can compete in Major Championships. To finish as the leading amateur three years in a row is a fantastic achievement and I would like to congratulate Lydia on her performance. I’m sure we will hear a lot more about her in years to come.”
“On behalf of the USGA, I extend our congratulations to Lydia on her third consecutive McCormack Medal – a feat that truly is historic,” said USGA Executive Director Mike Davis. “Her position in the WAGR is a testament to her hard work, talent and dedication, and we look forward to watching her marvelous career continue to unfold in the years to come.”
A recent report by GolfChannel.com stated that Ko is planning to turn professional later this fall.
Ko’s successful 2013 continued her rich vein of form from last year when she became one of the youngest winners of a professional golf championship at the New South Wales Open on the Australian Ladies Professional Golf Tour aged 14. She won the Australian Women’s Amateur and was runner-up in the Australian Women’s Stroke Play Championship. She also received the silver medal as the leading amateur at the U.S. Women’s Open and won the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship.
Joining Ko as a McCormack Medal winner for 2013 was 2013 U.S. Amateur champion Matt Fitzpatrick, of England. Fitzpatrick, 19, was presented with his medal on September 5 at the National Golf Links of America in Southampton, N.Y., site of the 2013 Walker Cup Match.
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 over 2,000 counting events with more than 3,600 ranked players representing 88 countries worldwide.