Ko wins Mark H McCormack medal as top women's amateur

Lydia Ko will be awarded the Mark H McCormack medal in recognition of her position as the leading woman in the World Amateur Golf Rankings

Lydia Ko

Fifteen-year-old Lydia Ko will receive the Mark H McCormack Medal for the second consecutive year as the leading women's amateur in the World Amateur Golf Rankings.

The Korean-born New Zealander moved to the top of the rankings after her sensational victory in last week's U.S. Women's Amateur Championship at Cleveland's Country Club, where she defeated 18-year-old American Jayne Marie Green 3&1 in Sunday's final.

Ko received the inaugural medal as the top ranked women's amateur in 2011, and has pushed on again in 2012.

In January, she won the New South Wales Open to become the youngest ever winner of a professional golf event.

This year, she has also won the Australian Women's Amateur, finished runner-up in the Australian Women's Stroke Play Championship, reached the semi-final of the U.S. Girls' Junior Championship and received the silver medal as the leading amateur at the U.S. Women's Open.

Ko has topped the ranking for 68 consecutive weeks, and as well as receiving the R&A and USGA award, she has earned a place in the 2013 U.S. Women's Open.

"I'd like to thank the USGA and The R&A because without them, the ranking wouldn't be possible. It gets me to places where normal people can't go, and it's a great honour."

The Women's World Amateur Golf Ranking - which has run concurrently with the men's amateur ranking since 2007 - is supported by Rolex, and has a calendar of 2,000 counting events, with over 3,600 ranked players representing 88 countries worldwide.

Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, Executive Director - Championships at the R&A, said: "Lydia deserves a huge amount of credit for performing so well throughout the last two years.

"She is clearly a wonderful player and seems to be showing a great level of maturity at such a young age."

John Bodenhamer, USGA Senior Managing Director, Rules, Competitions and Amateur Status, added: "She has accomplished so much for someone of such a young age."

Ko rose to prominence as a twelve-year-old, finishing seventh as an amateur at the 2010 Pegasus New Zealand Ladies' Stroke Play Championship, and in 2011, she became the first player to win the New Zealand Ladies' Stroke Play and the Australian Ladies' Stroke Play championships in the same year.

Nick Bonfield
Features Editor

Nick Bonfield joined Golf Monthly in 2012 after graduating from Exeter University and earning an NCTJ-accredited journalism diploma from News Associates in Wimbledon. He is responsible for managing production of the magazine, sub-editing, writing, commissioning and coordinating all features across print and online. Most of his online work is opinion-based and typically centres around the Majors and significant events in the global golfing calendar. Nick has been an avid golf fan since the age of ten and became obsessed with the professional game after watching Mike Weir and Shaun Micheel win The Masters and PGA Championship respectively in 2003. In his time with Golf Monthly, he's interviewed the likes of Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Jose Maria Olazabal, Henrik Stenson, Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood and Billy Horschel and has ghost-written columns for Westwood, Wayne Riley, Matthew Southgate, Chris Wood and Eddie Pepperell. Nick is a 12-handicap golfer and his favourite courses include Old Head, Sunningdale New, Penha Longha, Valderrama and Bearwood Lakes. If you have a feature pitch for Nick, please email nick.bonfield@futurenet.com with 'Pitch' in the subject line. Nick is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade M1 Fairway wood: TaylorMade RBZ Stage 2 Hybrid: Ping Crossover Irons (4-9): Nike Vapor Speed Wedges: Cleveland CBX Full Face, 56˚, Titleist Vokey SM4, 60˚ Putter: testing in progress! Ball: TaylorMade TP5x