Golf: Ko climbs to tied fourth in Ibaraki

Lydia Ko hits from the tee on the 15th hole during the first round of the LPGA Kraft Nabisco Championship golf tournament. Photo / AP
Lydia Ko hits from the tee on the 15th hole during the first round of the LPGA Kraft Nabisco Championship golf tournament. Photo / AP

World No 1 amateur Lydia Ko made four birdies in the final nine holes of the World Ladies Championship Salonpas Cup in Japan to add another top-five finish to her incredible record in professional events.

The 16-year-old carded a four-under-par 68 in the final round of the event to climb six places and finish in a share of fourth place on her debut on the Japan LPGA Tour.

Ko had rounds of 72, 70, 73 and 68 for a five-under-par total at the West Course of the Ibaraki Golf Club to finish four shots back from the champion Hiromi Mogi.

Ko easily finished as the leading amateur, ahead of Japan's Yumi Matsubara, and continued a phenomenal start to her career in professional events.

She already holds records as the youngest winner on the Australian LPGA, Ladies European Tour and LPGA Tours and she has never missed a cut in the 17 professional events since making her debut at the New Zealand Women's Open in 2010.

This season, Ko has won the New Zealand Women's Open at Clearwater, finished runner-up at the NSW Open and the Australian Open, tied ninth at the LOTTE LPGA Tour event in Hawaii, and in a share of 25th at the Kraft Nabisco Major Championship.

Ko, who is No 22 on the official world golf rankings, now has seven top-five finishes in professional events, including three victories. She has also finished as the low amateur in all three major championships she has contested, earning an amateur record that is one of the best ever seen in the game.

Ko will now return home to catch up on some school work before she competes at the LPGA Championship in New York from June 6-9, where she will attempt to become the youngest major winner in history.

American Morgan Pressel holds that particular record after claiming the 2007 Kraft Nabisco Championship at the age of 18 years, 10 months and nine days.

Lydia Ko's results in professional events in 2013

1st - New Zealand Women's Open
2nd - NSW Open
2nd - Australian Open
T4th - JLPGA World Ladies Championship Salonpas Cup
T9th - LOTTE LPGA Championship in Hawaii
T14th - Thailand PGA
T25th - Kraft Nabisco Major Championship

- APNZ

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