Making History: Ko becomes second player ever to win on first LPGA Tour start


Jin Young Ko has become only the second player in history to win on their debut as an LPGA Tour member with victory in Australia. 

The 22-year-old LPGA Tour rookie has become the latest history maker in the women's game, matching the feat of Beverley Hanson in 1951 by becoming the second LPGA Tour member in history to win in her first start. 

Ko has been on the radar of the ladies game since she turned in an impressive runner-up finish at the Ricoh Women's British Open at Turnberry in 2015, where as a fairly unknown 20-year-old she squandered a three-shot lead on the back nine to lose Inbee Park. 

The 10-time winner on the Korean LPGA then earned her LPGA Tour card last October with victory at the co-sanctioned KEB Hana Bank Championship, and Ko decided that she would take up membership on the US circuit. The decision has turned out the be the right one, sealing her name in the history books on her first outing - and doing it in style.

Ko completed her wire-to-wire victory with a three-stroke victory over Hyejin Choi on Sunday at Kooyonga, stretching her lead to six-strokes after two holes with back-to-back birdies on the opening two holes. She erased her early lead with two bogeys as Choi piled on the pressure to reduce the lead to one by the turn, but birdies for Ko at 9 and 13 extended her lead to three for the rest of the round.  

"I focused on my game and I think my chipping and putting were keys," she said about her solid play at Kooyonga. "This course is narrow, and then there's the green, so I'm thinking about only the greens and then try to two putt," she said of her strategy for the final round.

Ko's fast start to 2018 could see her put her name in a different record book. Her victory comes just a year after Sung Hyun Park matched Nancy Lopez as the only two players to win Rolex Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year in the same season, and if she continues in the same vein it wouldn't be surprising if Jin Young Ko made that elite duo a threesome.