The Dominion Post

Ko could lose top ranking within a week

- FRED WOODCOCK

LYDIA KO has been officially crowned the world No 1 in women’s golf but her grip on the top spot is tenuous.

The official rankings were released yesterday and the 17-yearold New Zealander tops the standings by the slimmest of margins from the woman she replaced, South Korea’s Inbee Park.

Ko’s average has nudged up to 9.70 points following her secondplac­ed finish in the opening event of the 2015 LPGA Tour season, the Coates Golf Championsh­ip in Florida on Sunday.

Park is just 0.03 points behind on 9.67, following her tie for 14th at the same event.

So while Ko is surely destined to spend plenty of time during her career as the world No 1, her initial reign could be as short as one week. The tour heads to the Bahamas for the next event, starting on Friday and depending on where Ko and Park finish, the No 1 ranking could revert back to the Korean.

With such a small margin, Ko’s decision to play in the New Zealand Women’s Open later this month could also hurt her rankings position.

There are much fewer rankings points on offer at the $332,000 Ladies European Tour event than at the LPGA Tour’s $2 million Thailand tournament the same week, the event Ko has opted bypass to support her national open in Christchur­ch, which she will feature in for the sixth successive year.

There is a gap to world No 3 Stacy Lewis, with the American sitting on 8.83 points, then a big drop to China’s Shanshan Feng in fourth with 6.40 points.

Ko has played significan­tly fewer events than the other top players in the rankings period, because she only started a full playing schedule in 2014 after turning profession­al. But the rankings are done on points average, enabling her to get to No 1.

Na Yeon Choi, the South Korean who won in Florida on Sunday, was a big mover and rises from 17th to 12th.

The next highest ranked Kiwi is Auckland left-hander Cathryn Bristow, who dropped two places to 496 and that wouldn’t be enough to earn New Zealand a second place in the 60-strong women’s field for the Olympics, if the selections were made today.

New Zealand would, however, have two players in the 60-strong men’s field – Danny Lee and Ryan Fox, who are New Zealand’s No 1 and 2, respective­ly.

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