AT THE tender age of 17, teenager Lydia Ko has already achieved one of her goals.
Earlier this month, the South Korea-born New Zealander took over the top spot in the women's world rankings, becoming the youngest golfer, male or female, to achieve that feat.
Tiger Woods was 21 before he became world No. 1, a mark that Ko has surpassed with plenty to spare.
She is already eyeing another record as she targets a win at April's ANA Inspiration (formerly known as Kraft Nabisco Championship) which could make her the youngest winner of one of golf's Majors.
American Morgan Pressel now holds that honour, with her win at the 2007 edition attained when she was 18 years, 10 months and nine days old.
Ko, who turns 18 three weeks after the tournament, said yesterday during a media conference call: "I would love to win my first Major.
"It's been my goal since I first started playing golf but I never set a deadline for myself.
"I know I could break the record at the ANA but I'm not going to think about it too much and put pressure on myself."
Yet, such has been her meteoric rise that expectations are inevitable and an increasing part of the growing landscape of one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people for 2014.
She won four professional events as an amateur and added another three since turning pro in October 2013.
Her most recent victory at the CME Group Tour Championship last November also earned her the Race to the CME Globe, a season-long points race.
These two victories helped her pocket US$1.5 million (S$2.04 million) in winnings for the biggest payday in women's golf history.
In 44 LPGA Tour career starts, she has yet to miss the cut, an incredible achievement of consistency for any elite golfer, much less one who has yet to get her driving licence.
"I try to stay focused on the present. Things have happened quicker than I imagined or planned and I'm really lucky to be in this position.
"I just want to try to enjoy what happens now," said Ko, who revealed that her iPhone playlist includes the likes of One Direction, Lady Gaga and Rihanna while her favourite apps are Minion Rush and Candy Crush.
While she has fond memories of her trip last year to Singapore for the US$1.4 million HSBC Women's Champions - she finished 15th - she is now determined to depart the Sentosa Golf Club's Serapong Course with more than happy recollections following the March 5-8 event.
She said: "It's a tough course with the breeze and the big greens mean you have to shoot for a small target.
"I felt like last year I did leave a couple of shots behind... It's my second time playing it and I'm more familiar now. If I play my own game, it's definitely a tournament I think I can win."
Things have happened quicker than I imagined or planned and I'm really lucky to be in this position. I just want to try to enjoy what happens now. - Lydia Ko
This article was first published on Feb 12, 2015.
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