New Zealand golfer Ko returns to No. 1 in world


New Zealand’s Lydia Koh topped the women’s world rankings for the third time in her career, regaining top spot on Monday, a week after winning the LPGA Tour Championship.

Ko, who took first place for the first time in 2015, overtook American Nellie Korda, who rose to the top of the rankings on November 14 after winning the Pelican Women’s Championship by one stroke.

“I am very grateful to be number one in the world again,” Koh said in a statement. “Honestly, I wasn’t sure if I would ever come back here again.

“This would not have been possible without my family and team, thank you for your faith and love.”

Ko became the world’s youngest No. 1 when she topped the rankings in 2015, holding the top spot from February 2 to June 14 for a total of 19 weeks.

She then was number one for 85 weeks from October 2015 to June 2017.

A span of five years, five months and 17 days – the longest period between stints at number one – Ko returns to the top after a 2022 resurgence that kicked off with a January LPGA win at Boca Rio in Florida.

She ended a nearly three-year title drought during which she dropped to No. 59 in the world with a victory in the 2021 LOTTE Hawaii Championship.

This year she returned to the elite of the game after her triumph in Boca Rio with victories in the BMW Women’s Championship and the season-ending Tour Championship.

This latest victory went to the winner of $2 million, the largest first-place prize in women’s golf history.

It also secured her a second LPGA Player of the Year award and a Vare Trophy for the player with the lowest average.

Along with her three wins, Ko recorded another nine top-five finishes in 2022, including a fifth-place finish at the US Women’s Open and a third-place finish at the Evian Championships.

Her 105th week at the top of the rankings this week is the fifth most ever, led by Mexican Lorena Ochoa with 158 weeks.

Ko, who was only 15 years old when she won her first LPGA title, has 19 wins, including major titles at the 105th Evian Championship and the 2016 Chevron Championship.

She also won an Olympic silver for New Zealand in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and a bronze at the Tokyo Games.