Ko won the last tournament she played, the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic.

WILLIAMSBURG — Lydia Ko's cell phone rang the other day, from an unknown number. The New Zealand teenager thought about letting it go to voicemail, but decided to answer.

On the other end was countryman and professional golfer Michael Campbell, a former U.S. Open champ. He called, one Kiwi to another, to congratulate her and to offer advice.

"I was kind of surprised when he was like, 'Hi, I'm Michael Campbell,'" Ko said. "I'm like, 'Excuse me? ...' It was pretty exciting for me to have somebody like him, his profile to call me. I thought he got the wrong number. Yeah, but I was like, man, luckily I did pick up the phone."

Ko is likely to field many more phone calls from celebrities, since she has rapidly become their peer.

She is one of the more intriguing characters at this week's LPGA Championship at Kingsmill, a precocious player with balance and perspective.

"I'm just trying to enjoy the moment," she said. "That's when I play the best."

Though Ko just turned 17 last month, she already won five tournaments worldwide. She is the youngest winner in both LPGA and Ladies European Tour history.

She won the 2012 Canadian Women's Open at 15 years, 4 months and 2 days. In February 2013 she won the Handa Women's New Zealand Open, an LET event. She defended her title at the Canadian Open last summer.

Ko turned professional last October, and LPGA commissioner Mike Whan waived the age requirement and granted her membership for 2014.

Ko won the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic in San Francisco last month, which vaulted her into the top 10 on the money list and Rolex Player of the Year rankings.

"Everything has happened really fast the last two years, especially the last year," Ko said. "But it's definitely going the right way. I'm excited about that. I've just been trying to have some fun, which is different to when I was playing as an amateur.

"But I do feel a little bit more pressure, feeling like there is something more on the line, but I'm just trying to have fun. I think that's what's going to keep my head on the right way."

Beyond golf, Ko was recently listed among Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People, which dropped the weekend of her 17th birthday. Golf all-timer Annika Sorenstam wrote the blurb, citing her ability, maturity and influence among young players around the world.

"I kind of thought to myself, what did I do to be in the top 100?" Ko said. "But I'm honored to be amongst those big names. … I saw the magazine at Publix one day and I said, 'Oh, that's me.' So I was really excited. The things that Annika said about me were really nice of her. She's one of my role models, as well. Yeah, very exciting."

Ko, who stands 5-foot-5, compensates for her lack of distance off the tee with an uncanny short game. She ranks just 70th in driving distance (252.8), but is in the top 20 in driving accuracy and greens-in-regulation. She is in the top 10 in putting average, sand saves and, predictably, scoring (70.61).

"Lydia has every aspect of the game," tour veteran and 2007 Kingsmill champ Suzann Pettersen said. "I've been head-to-head with her a couple Sundays over the last year. She's gotten most of us, for the most part. I managed to get Evian, which is kind of nice. Let her take the small, I'll take the big."

Pettersen shot 3-under 68 on Sunday at last year's Evian Championship for a two-stroke win over Ko, who was under-par all three rounds at one of the LPGA's majors.

"She's just an all round great golfer," Pettersen said. "She's got a great head. Very humble player. She's very well liked out on tour. She goes about her business in her own way, and I think that's what you've got to do."

Ko was born in South Korea and lived there until age 6, when her parents relocated to New Zealand. Korea is certainly more golf-mad than New Zealand, known more for rugby (All Blacks) and sailing, and where the pace of life is often quicker.

"New Zealand, I think, is a great country to play golf," Ko said, citing a dirt-cheap $100 annual membership at her club for kids under 17. "Some people pay $100 to play one round. So I think it's a really great golfing country. It's really relaxed, so I really like that, as well. Some people might think it's kind of slow and a little too laid back. I'm more used to that. So when I'm more in the city, I kind of get a headache."

Ko hung around San Francisco after her tournament win. She toured Alcatraz and sampled Dungeness crabs. Opportunities to escape and relax may come at a premium as her career blossoms.

"I'm just playing a tournament at a time, round at a time, a hole at a time," she said. "Yeah, just like I said, I'm trying to enjoy the moment and not think about what's going to be happening in a couple years or whatever. So it's my first year on the tour. I'm really having fun. I just feel fortunate that I'm having this opportunity to play on the tour as a 17-, 16-year old."

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