Never before has a 15-year-old girl created such in a fuss in the world of golf.
World No.1 amateur Lydia Ko has already played a starring role at the Women’s British Open before the first round at Hoylake tonight (NZ time).
The Gulf Harbour Country Club golfer has attracted worldwide attention to Royal Liverpool for the tournament with CNN and the New York Times traveling to the UK to do specific stories on the young superstar.
Ko, who made international headlines when she won the Canadian Open and became the youngest winner in LPGA Tour history, and her coach Guy Wilson are fighting a losing battle trying to quell the expectation on her performance.
Wilson said it was difficult to manage the hype around his player.
“We have to give the media its place, as it’s the thing that is going to pay the bills when she turns pro, so we have to manage it properly. We will make sure we keep her away from any unneeded commitments going forward so we can fully focus on the task at hand.”
In saying that, Wilson added that the hype was justified and he too has high expectations of her performance this week with the form she is in.
“After seeing how she handles herself in all situations I am confident that she can play solid around any golf course,” said the Institute of Golf coach.
“Lydia’s game is so robotic, so she wouldn’t normally see shots that are required around links courses, so I think we will work well.”
Ko is playing in only her second major championship following a tie for 39th place at the US Open at Blackwolf Run where she claimed the leading amateur medal. The test of links golf is a new challenge for Ko and Wilson said after playing Hoylake in brutal conditions in practice it is going to be a battle.
“I’m not sure this course suits anyone’s game. Lydia hits it quite low, which is a benefit in the wind, and she is amazing around the greens so that’s got to be a huge benefit. The player that keeps their emotions in check here this week will be the victor, as I’m tipping the winning score to be over par.”
Wilson has helped Ko with her goal setting and her focus for the week. He said the goal for her first British Open would be straightforward.
“The focus will be to never give up. There are so many hard holes out there, and with the wind that is here already and likely to be here all week, there are going to be a lot of high numbers.
“One of the main goals is to not hit it into a fairway bunker, so we are hitting a lot of five woods off the tee just to position ourselves away from the trouble.
“Given that Lydia is so accurate off the tee, this is a hard thing to do, especially that we will be using a five wood for second shot. So it’s more about position and not making bogeys rather than making lots of birdies.”
Ko will hope for benign conditions in round one of her British Open debut as she tees off at 7:00am alongside Lexi Thompson and Kaori Ohe.
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