North Harbour 14-year-old Lydia Ko became the youngest female New Zealand amateur golf champion in the event's 117-year history after beating defending champion Cecilia Cho in Christchurch yesterday.

Ko, who turned 14 on Sunday, overcame Cho 4 and 3 at Russley to deny the Pakuranga 16-year-old a third successive title.

In the men's event, Hamilton's Mathew Perry outclassed Russley's Steven Heyes by 4 and 2 to secure his first New Zealand amateur title.

Ko, who surpassed 2006 champion Larissa Eruera as the youngest winner of the women's title, made her move in the second round after the pair had been all-square after 18 holes.

After birdieing the 19th to go one up, Ko then won successive holes (the 25th and 26th) to go three up and her victory was confirmed on the 33rd hole when Cho missed her 4m putt for birdie.

"It means a lot to win the New Zealand amateur title and being the youngest makes it even better," said Ko. "It was my goal at the start of the week to win the NZ strokeplay and NZ amateur titles and I am really proud to achieve it."

The world No 3, Ko was beaten by Cho, the world's second best amateur, by the same margin in the 2009 final.

Ko is the first female golfer from the North Shore Golf Club to win the New Zealand amateur title - Richard Lee won the men's title in 1992 while Sharon Ahn had won the NZ strokeplay title in 2005.

She follows in the footsteps of Dana Kim, of Christchurch, who won both the New Zealand strokeplay and New Zealand amateur titles at the same championship in 2005.

Earlier in the week Ko became the first woman to win both the New Zealand strokeplay and Australian strokeplay champion in the same year, and the youngest winner in both events.

Cho, who was unbeaten in 14 New Zealand amateur matches leading into the final, was quick to praise Ko.

"I am sad to lose but I am proud of what I achieved the last two years - winning in the playoff last year was special - but I want to congratulate Lydia on her win here," said Cho.

Perry, 24, became the first golfer from the Hamilton Golf Club to win the men's title since Colin Taylor in 1983 and he was looking forward to heading home to celebrate with his clubmates his best achievement in his amateur golf career.

"It's up there with anything I have done in golf," said the 24-year-old Perry. "It is nice to add my name to a list of legends of New Zealand golf and get my name on that big trophy."

Perry arrived in Christchurch with low expectations after being knocked out in the second round last year and making it to the quarter-finals of the Australian amateur in March.

"It has always been one of my goals to win this event and even when there were times when I was playing great I still fought hard and was mentally tough - that is what got me through was my mental toughness."

Perry made a crucial turnaround in the morning, winning the final two holes of the opening round to take a telling advantage. He headed into the final nine holes 3 up and played solid golf to maintain his edge.

The 19-year-old Heyes, who had not played a tournament all year, was erratic in the final nine holes but happy with his work at his new home course.

- NZPA