New Zealand teenage sensation Lydia Ko has continued her fine form with an incredible 10-under-par 63 in the opening round of the 2013 ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open being played this week at Royal Canberra Golf Club.
The 15 year-old Ko, ranked Number 30 in the world while still an amateur, leads by one from Colombian Mariajo Uribe at 9-under and former Open runner-up and World Number 7 Jiyai Shin at 8-under par.
Ko said her star playing partners added to the enjoyment in an excellent round.
“Yeah it was fun out there, I mean when you hit a good round it makes it better, but Yani and Michelle, we had a few good conversations so I think that made it more enjoyable,” Ko said.
“It (tomorrow) could go two ways, I could not have a great round tomorrow, or I could just follow up with a good round, so I mean it’s quite hard to beat my round today, so hopefully I can stay consistent.”
Rolex World Number 1 Taiwanese Yani Tseng finished in a tie for seventh at 5-under par and said she enjoyed watching her playing partner light it up.
“I mean it was very fun to watch her play golf today, I mean she still looks fifteen, I don’t know how she hits the ball that well, I didn’t know. I wasn’t even that close to her when I was fifteen. It is very interesting to see her play, and I really enjoyed playing with her today too. I think she pushed me up a little bit too, at first she made birdie and I mean, I don’t want to lose, I want to make birdie too, trying to keep to her, but at 9 she was on fire and I dropped back, she was on fire,” Tseng said.
Katherine Hull-Kirk, Sarah-Jane Smith and Kristie Smith are the best of the Australians after 5-under par rounds of 68 in a tie for eighth.
Italian Giulia Sergas is the best of the Europeans at 6-under par in sixth place.
Tickets for the championship are available via www.ticketek.com or by calling 132 849.
Read what Lydia Ko had to day following her round…
Q. What a day, every part of your golf game was on ?
LYDIA KO: I was in a really good group to start of with, I was pretty nervous when I saw the draw that I was playing with two of the big names, but I mean the weather was beautiful, I think we all enjoyed our time out there.
Q. Can you believe the round you were having, it was quite incredible wasn’t it at one stage you must’ve felt like nothing could go wrong?
LYDIA KO: Yeah I mean, I didn’t feel that, but at the tenth I thought what is today going to be like, and after a few birdies, I kind of settled in and yeah I felt pretty comofrtable.
Q. Did you dare to dream a little bit, maybe a 59 at all?
LYDIA KO: Not really because I’ve played good before and then gone triple par, bogie no, triple, double bogie in the last three rounds before, so I didn’t really think of what I was going to shoot, I just took it one shot at a time.
Q. What is your career low round?
LYDIA KO: Yeah, I shot an 8 under at the NSW Open, but this is my best score since then.
Q. You’re a really crafts person, but Yani is long hit out there, when you both hit driver, what kind of distance did you make?
LYDIA KO: I was no where near where she went, Yani and Michelle are both really long hitters, so today I was trying to think where it was going. I mean it’s a tree lined golf course, so I tried to hit it as accurate as I could.
Q. Was it fun out there or hard work?
LYDIA KO: Yeah it was fun out there, I mean when you hit a good round it makes it better, but Yani and Michelle, we had a few good conversations so I think that made it more enjoyable.
Q. Playing with Yani, did that lift you, knowing you are playing with world number one?
LYDIA KO: Yeah it was pretty inspring, she was in the fair way bunker, or the trees and gets it out, I said to my caddie Stephen, ‘that is why she is number one’ (laughs). Very inspiring stuff.
Q. Did you learn anything from her today?
LYDIA KO: Well I just looked at my game. And today was a really good round for me, but I know there are many things that I still need to improve and she was pretty much faultless in my eyes.
Q. Yani was saying you mentioned that you grew up watching Michelle Wei, was it a bit surreal playing with her?
LYDIA KO: Yeah I mean she has always been my favorite player and I’ve always just said hello and that’s about it, but being able to play with her was very exciting and, and you don’t get that many chances to play with the person you look up too.
Q. Lydia can you please tell me a little bit about how you first started playing golf, how old you were?
LYDIA KO: I started when I was about five-and-a-half. Neither of my parents play golf, but my aunt she use to be quite a golf-a-holic so she gave me a couple of clubs and it started there.
Q. Could you give us an indiction on your clubs today?
LYDIA KO: My irons really only go up to my 6-iron so i’ve got three hybrids and two woods and then a driver. So it’s not a short course out there, it makes it easier because it is getting drier and there is more roll. That is why I’m having a couple more hybrids, and because I’m playing an LPGA event.
Q. On the 9th your last hole, what did you hit there?
LYDIA KO: I hit a 6-iron from 150m. I couldn’t see it on the green. I was going to hit a hybrid, because I hit it over the green on the 8th so I thought I’d hit a 6-iron and see where it goes. I didn’t see it til the crowd went ‘ohhhh’ (laughs) you know when it’s really close.
Q. What do you think you could learn from Michelle Wie, about moving forward?
LYDIA KO: I think she is a great player, you know, her career, doing college and playing on tour, is something I am thinking of as well. There is lots of options and seeing her career path has been pretty amazing.
Q. Are you still considering a college and career?
LYDIA KO: Yeah, there are so many options. I mean I could enroll and do it later after a year of going pro, or doing it the same time, but you know, I definitely will be wanting to go to college.
Q. How many offers have you gotten from American Colleges at the moment?
LYDIA KO: I’m not allowed to talk to college coaches at the moment. I can talk to them next year.
Q. Has this set you up for the next round do you think?
LYDIA KO: It could go two ways, I could not have a great round tomorrow, or I could just follow up with a good round, so I mean it’s quite hard to beat my round today, so hopefully I can stay consistent.
Q. Could you please tell us a bit more about the eagle hole?
LYDIA KO: I hit my driver a little to the right more then I expected to but still on the fairway, then I hit a hybrid to a lay-up position and then I hit my pitching wedge.
Q. Over the last 12 months you’ve had the advantage of having a trust fund set up to support your endeavors around the world, how much has that assisted you and what you’ve been able to do?
LYDIA KO: I guess, with the rules of amateur status and there are pretty strict rules and huge boundaries so I mean, we are trying to do it as easy as possible, but keeping in line and why NZ Golf has been really helpful, there has been a couple of people helping out – Sarah – I mean it gets me to places, hopefully! This year I will have a few more opportunities to get over to the States, it’s pretty expensive. From New Zealand, apart from Australia it takes over ten hours to get anywhere.
Q. When was the last time you opened a school book?
LYDIA KO: Ah, last year (laughs) I haven’t been to school yet.
Q. What year are you heading into now?
LYDIA KO: I’m heading into year 12, but we go to year 13.
Q. When will you head back to open a book?
LYDIA KO: Well I’ve got the Thailand Open next week and then the LPGA Championship after that I will start opening books
Q. You’re off in the afternoon tomorrow, how will you spend the rest of the day?
LYDIA KO: I’ll be doing some practice after this, and then hopefully some cool time and relax time. I played a tournament last week it is easier to get tired at the end of the week so relaxing and having some chill time is pretty important.
Q. When you go to the practice area, is there something you’re going to work on now or just general stuff?
LYDIA KO: I’m just going to do pretty much a little bit of everything. I mean even if it was good today, you never know what is going to happen tomorrow because it’s a new day.
Q. Did you notice the course dry out much from today and the day before?
LYDIA KO: Yeah I think so, I can see the greens are getting much faster as well.