Calm and generous Lydia Ko earns global praise for New Zealand win
Lydia Ko's composure and generosity have gained her and the New Zealand Open global headlines.
Ko, the 18-year-old world No 1, held her nerve to win the New Zealand title by two strokes at the Clearwater course on Sunday, teeing off just minutes after a 5.7 magnitude earthquake hit the city.
A small tournament by global standings, Ko's presence and the impact of the earthquake on a city no stranger to shakes after the tragic earthquake five years ago, meant her victory was felt around the world.
Ko's tearful winner's speech where she acknowledged the recent passing of one of her mentors, former New Zealand Golf President Patsy Hankins, and he decision to donate her winner's cheque of $47,000 to a New Zealand charity didn't go unnoticed either.
"It will take a lot more than an earthquake to throw Lydia Ko off her game," wrote Emily Kay for SB Nation.
"The seismic shock had no impact on the defending champion's play, as Ko took the field with the lead and walked off the last hole with her third win in the event in four years."
On the Golf Channel, Randall Mel wrote: "Lydia Ko was in tears Sunday winning the ISPS Handa New Zealand Women's Open for the third time on a remarkable day that began with a 5.7 magnitude earthquake rattling Christchurch just 10 minutes before she was scheduled to tee off.
"Ko prevailed playing through 52 aftershocks. Though the quake was described as "severe" by New Zealand seismology officials, no injuries or serious structural damage was reported in the immediate aftermath.
"After winning, Ko got emotional thinking about the support New Zealand and its golf program has given her. She announced she will be donating her entire winnings to help New Zealand in some way."
In Britain, the BBC headlined the achievement with: "Lydia Ko wins earthquake-hit New Zealand Open", saying the defending champion shrugged off the effects of the seismic activity.
The Australian newspaper reported that "Ko seemed unfettered ... as the clubhouse at the Clearwater course swayed noticeably".
Ko now heads to Adelaide to defender her Australian Open title.