Rookie sensation Lydia Ko faces 'tough' task to match 2014

Reuters| Last Updated: Nov 25, 2014, 09:16 AM IST
Rookie sensation Lydia Ko faces 'tough' task to match 2014

New Zealand teenager Lydia Ko knows full well that she will face a formidable challenge next year in trying to replicate, at the very least, her astonishingly successful rookie campaign on the LPGA Tour.

The 17-year-old capped a storming 2014 season by clinching her third victory in a gripping three-way playoff for the Tour Championship on Sunday at Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, Florida.

The youngest player in the elite field, Ko also claimed the circuit`s inaugural "Race to CME Globe" title and its $1 million bonus for the biggest payday in women`s golf.

"It`s going to be tough," Ko told reporters when asked how she could top her golfing achievements from this year on the 2015 LPGA Tour.

"I played pretty awesome this year. I`ve had 14 top 10s and three wins. It`s a year that I would`ve never thought that I would have. It`s a hard year to top off."

Ko, who earlier this month became the youngest winner of the LPGA`s rookie of the year award, is well aware of the fickle fortunes in professional golf.

"Golf is that kind of game that you can shoot one day a 65 and then 85 the next," she beamed.

"This has been a great year, but I`m never going to go a step further and have wide shoulders and go, `Oh, I won three events and everything.` You just never know."

Ko, already a five-times winner on the LPGA Tour, knows her game will always need improvement.

"There is no perfection," she said. "Even if I shoot a 10-under, I know I`m going to find a little mistake or a little putt and say, `Oh, I wish I had that.` My game needs work in every area."

Ko, who was born in South Korea and moved to New Zealand when she was six, piled up earnings of $2.09 million on the 2014 LPGA Tour, becoming the first rookie to surpass $2 million in a year.

"It`s huge money, you know," she said. "Even $1,000 is huge money. For us, $100 is huge money, so it`s getting bigger. But the great thing about my friends is most of them don`t play golf.

"When I`m hanging around with them, we don`t talk about golf or the hook I hit on seven or whatever. So that`s what I really love. I kind of feel like I can get off the course, get my mind free, and just be that teenager."