Saturday, January 28, 2012


                    LYDIA KO, New Zealand's South Korean-born wonder girl, still only 14
                                          Image by Cal Carson Golf Agency  

New Zealand's Lydia Ko moved a step closer to creating golfing history at the New South Wales Open today as a sublime second round put her within range of becoming the youngest female to win a professional tournament.
Ko, the world's top-ranked amateur, produced the round of the day at the Oatlands Golf Club in Sydney to carry a four-shot lead into tomorrow's third and final round.
If she can protect her advantage the 14-year-old will relegate Amy Yang into second place six years after the United States-based South Korean won Australia's ANZ Ladies Masters as an amateur.
Ko mastered the front nine en route to a superb 8-under 64, which would have bettered the course record by a stroke had the golfers not been using preferred lies to combat a course still feeling the effects of yesterday's heavy rain.
She began the day in a tie for third, one shot behind overnight leaders Karen Lunn and Rachel Bailey, and set the tone immediately by launching her birdie blitz on the opening hole.
Ko eventually reeled off five birdies before the turn though the highlight of her round was a stunning eagle on the fourth when she chipped in from 12-metres -- with one of her least favourite clubs.
"I don't really use my 9-iron that often, I'm not that confident with it and my putting was really good but I decided to use it and it went in," she laughed. "I didn't expect it to go in, I just wanted to hit it close and make a nice birdie." Ko was not as prolific on the back nine as blustery winds became a factor - she completed the first four in regulation before a rare blemish, a bogey on the par- 4 14th.
However, she underlined her class by swiftly making amends with back-to-back birdies to restore and then extend her lead over Lindsey Wright of Australia. Kent-born Wright had set the early pace with a 6-under 66 before Ko, who won the Australian women's amateur championship in Melbourne last weekend, took charge with another career highlight.
"It gives me a lot of confidence, I'm really happy with my game and If I play like that again (tomorrow) I'll still be up there," said Ko, who is 11-under the card after two rounds.
Yang was 16 years and 192 days old when she made her mark and Ko has already been tantalisingly close to diminishing that achievement - at last year's NSW Open but she lost by one stroke to Sweden's Caroline Hedwall.
SCOTSWATCH: Vikki Laing from Musselburgh is sharing 31st place on 145 - same mark as England's Laura Davies - with scores of 73 and 72. Clare Queen (The Carrick at Loch Lomond) is T54 on 148 after rounds of 72-76. Kylie Walker is T77 in a field of 112 players with scores of 74-78 for 152.

Par 144 (2x72)
Players from Australia unless statee
133 Lydia Ko (New Zealand) (amateur) 69 64.
137 Lindsey Wright 71 68.
138 Gwladys Nocera (France) 70 68.
139 Kristie Smith 72 67, Hae-Rym Kim (South Korea) 69 70, Wendy Doolan 71 68.
140 Rachel Bailey 68 72, Martianne Skarpnord (Norway) 69 71, Nikki Garrett 69 71, Becky Morgan (Wales) 70 70, Melissa Reid (England) 70 70.

Selected scores
143 Charlotte Thomas (England) (amateur) 72 71 (T20).
145 Laura Davies (England) 73 72, Rebecca Codd (Ireland) 74 71, Vikki Laing (Scotland) 73 72 (T31).
146 Danielle Montgomery 75 71 (T40)
147 Kym Larratt (England) 73 74 (T47).
148 Elizabeth Bennett (England) 75 73, Clare Queen (Scotland) 72 76 (T54).
151 Felicity Johnson (England) 76 75 (T70).
152 Kylie Walker (Scotland) 74 78 (T77)
Field of 112 players

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