Naomi Ko Named Female Junior Athlete Of Year At Sport BC Dinner

A Smiling Naomi Ko Hears Her Name Called As The Sport BC Junior Female Athlete Of The Year Winner. Her Mother Adriana (R) Heartily Approves - Image Credit Alfie Lau

by Alfie Lau, Inside Golf

Naomi Ko of Victoria was a big winner at the Sport BC Dinner on March 12.

Ko beat out cyclist Maggie Coles-Lyster and swimmer Emily Overholt to win the Junior Female Athlete of the Year Award.

“I want to thank my family for always supporting me and giving me unconditional love,” Ko told the 500 assembled guests at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver as she accepted her award. “I’m really honoured to win this great award.”

Ko’s family of mother Adriana, father Tony and younger brother Ethan enthusiastically cheered on the 17-year-old Claremont Secondary student who will be finishing high school in June and then flying east to Raleigh, North Carolina, where she has earned a golf scholarship to play for the North Carolina State Wolfpack.

“When I made my visit, it just seemed to suit me athletically,” said Ko. “I got to know coach Page Marsh and it felt like it was the right choice for me.”

Ko, part of a three-player international incoming class at NC State, said she was also influenced by NC State’s solid record of nurturing Canadian talent. “I know this year’s team has Augusta James and Vivian Tsui on it and I know that Brittany Marchand and Amanda Baker also did well there,” said Ko.

It’s been a dream year for the Team Canada Development Team member who is also a member at Royal Colwood Golf Club in Victoria. “I have been working with (national coach) Ann Carroll and I am very proud to be a Team Canada member,” said Ko. “I’ve had some good results and I think it all started when I made Team Canada.”

Ko, who was also named the 2014 Pacific Northwest Golf Association Women’s Junior Girls’ award winner, won the BC Junior Girls’ Amateur Championship and finished runner-up at the BC Juvenile Girls’ Championship. 

She also finished fourth at the BC Women’s Amateur Championship, fourth in the Canadian Junior Girls’ Amateur Championship, second in the AJGA St. Louis, and 13th in the AJGA Junior Girls’ Championship.

On the national stage, Ko finished T40 in the Canadian Women’s Amateur, 3rd in the CN Future Links Pacific Championship and won the CN Future Links Ontario Championship. She also finished T10 in the Canadian Women’s Pro Tour BC Championship.

Internationally, Ko finished T12 in the South American Amateur, T33 in the World Junior Girls, T16 in the Porter Cup and reached the round-of-16 in the Western Amateur.

“My goals for this year are to compete in more women’s amateur events, both provincially and nationally,” said Ko, who has to be considered a player to watch at the British Columbia Women’s Amateur to be contested at Duncan Meadows June 29 to July 3.

And that little matter of moving to North Carolina to start her university career doesn’t faze the mature Victoria golfer. “I’m excited about going to North Carolina State and my family is really excited for me too,” said Ko.

Ko was nominated for the Female Junior Athlete of the Year Award by David Atkinson, President of British Columbia Golf and Kris Jonasson, Executive Director of British Columbia Golf.