Friday, March 6, 2015

Don't Look Now But One of Lydia Ko's Age Records Has Already Fallen

Lydia Ko is still only 17 years old, and she's set a lot of age-related records in golf along her way to superstardom. But, believe it or not, one of Ko's age records has already been broken.

Back in 2011, a 13-year-old Ko became the youngest-ever golfer to play in the Bing Lee NSW Women´s Open. That's a big tournament in Australia for golfers on the ALPG Tour.

But at the 2015 Bing Lee Fujitsu NSW Women´s Open, an even younger golfer is in the field: a 12-year-old. Which makes 12-year-old amateur Belinda Ji the first person to break one of Ko's age-related records in a professional tournament.

Don't get the idea that Ji is the next Ko, though. Although Ji is clearly a very talented golfer for her age, one who might have a bright future ahead in golf, she's farther away from reaching the pro level than Ko was at a similar age. Compare the results: Ji shot her age, in a manner of speaking - she's 12, she shot 12-over par 84 in the first round.

When Ko made her NSW Open debut at 13, she nearly won the tournament. She made it to the final green with the lead, but three-putted and lost by one shot.

Of course, Ko was 13 then, and Ji is only 12 now. Ji began playing golf at age 7. At age 9 she was a 9-handicap. At age 10, Ji won a "scholarship" to a local golf club and entered that club's junior development program. Now, at age 12, she plays off a 3 handicap.

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