World No.1 amateur Lydia Ko cannot wait to make her major debut at the US Open.
The 15-year-old Korean-born Kiwi will make history tomorrow when she becomes only the second amateur from New Zealand after Olivia Hartley played in the event in 1999.
Ko, who became the youngest winner in both men’s and women’s professional golf when she claimed the NSW Open, has a history of rising to the occasion.
The enormity of playing the US Open has hit the Gulf Harbour teenager as she mixed with some of the biggest names in the game.
“Being around and playing with the world’s best is overwhelming,” said Ko from Wisconsin.
“Words can’t explain how awesome it is. I got an autograph from Michelle Wie and also Annika Sorenstam.”
While she has spent some of her time star-gazing Ko has also got straight down to business in figuring out a plan of how best to play Blackwolf Run Golf Club in the 67thUS Open Championship.
She has been pleased with her practice rounds where she got a good idea of the course playing alongside Aussie Katherine Hull and Japan’s Mika Miyazato.
“It is quite a long course. The fairways are quite wide but it has hazards in the areas where the drives would go. Even the short holes are not easy. It is clearly shown from the winning score in 1998 [five over par total].
“Being able to play the Open is such an honour. Even a few of the pros are unable to play but to be able to play still as an amateur it makes it more exciting. Seeing the environment and the setup of the tournament, I’m becoming more and more excited to play along with the elite players on tour.”
Ko is hoping to make the cut in her major debut and her practice off the Black Tees at her new home course Gulf Harbour has paid dividends. But she wasn’t prepared for the heat in Wisconsin.
“The weather is in the high 30s, which is hotter than normal. But in 1998 when the US Open was last played here, the weather was the hottest it had ever been and it broke all records.
“But everyone is playing in the same weather so im getting used to it, even though the water i put in gets sweated out the same amount.
“I have made a good plan with my caddie. I am confident going into the tournament as I have practiced really hard in New Zealand and also am well prepared. The only thing I can do now is try my best. Go New Zealand.”
Ko is teeing off from the first tee alongside Hee Young Park (Korea) and Dewi Claire Schreefel (Netherlands) in round one at 1:14pm (local time).
She will not be the youngest in history to play the US Open. That record is held by American Lexi Thompson who was only 12-years-old when she qualified in 2007.
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