(Reuters) - New Zealand’s 16-year-old golf prodigy Lydia Ko has decided to turn professional and has asked the LPGA Tour to waive its age limit for her to become a member, the tour said on Thursday.
Ko, who was born in South Korea and moved to New Zealand when she was six, became the youngest winner on the LPGA Tour when she captured last year’s Canadian Open at the age of 15.
“The LPGA has received Lydia Ko’s petition and the Commissioner plans to review it upon his return from Asia,” the LPGA Tour said in a statement. “The decision on the petition will be solely up to the Commissioner’s discretion.”
Ko also became the youngest champion on the European Tour by clinching the New Zealand Open last February and successfully defended her Canadian Open title this year.
Her mother told Golf Channel this week that her daughter would compete at the LPGA Tour’s next month’s season-ending CME Group Titleholders tournament in Florida and could make her professional debut the week before at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Mexico.
The LPGA Tour has an 18-year-old age requirement for membership but commissioner Mike Whan can waive the rule, as he did in 2011 for amateur sensation Lexi Thompson.
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Frank Pingue