Lydia Ko’s incredible year keeps getting better, and it’s not even over.
The 17-year-old, who has won twice on the LPGA Tour this season, was named one of Time magazine’s 25 Most Influential Teens of 2014 this week. It’s the second straight year Ko was included, and comes after she was among Time‘s 100 Most Influential People, a list released in April.
For this teen list, Time “analyzed social-media followings, cultural accolades, business acumen and more.” Here’s what the magazine had to say about Ko:
After going pro last year, Ko now ranks third among women golfers worldwide, sparking interest in the sport “not just in her native South Korea and adopted homeland of New Zealand but also among juniors across the globe,” as golf legend Annika Sorenstam wrote in this year’s Time 100. Thanks to her many tournament wins and endorsement deal with Callaway, she’s also the youngest millionaire in LGPA history. “That’s big money,” she said in April. “But when I’m out there I’m thinking about making birdies and hitting good shots and making putts rather than, ‘OK, this putt is going to give me an extra thousand.'”
She’s a humble girl who could be No. 1 in the world by Sunday. Ko is in Incheon, South Korea, this week for the LPGA Tour’s HanaBank Championship, her first pro start in the country of her birth. And should she win, she’d jump past Stacy Lewis and Inbee Park to the top spot in the world rankings.
Ko already has two victories in 2014, which matched the same number she won on the LPGA Tour prior to turning pro a year ago. After taking the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic in April, she won the Marathon Classic in July and became the youngest millionaire in LPGA history.
Her money total is up to $1.36 million on the year, but that’s not yet a final tally. Ko finished in the top 10 at her past two events, and she was a top-10 finisher in the season’s final two majors. So she’s playing better after battling wrist pain from a cyst caused by too much practice. Some recent rest has her feeling good again, but she will need surgery after her season is over.
The way this year has gone, though, Ko might never want to stop.
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