Mon Feb 25 2013Ko-mania to hit The Hills
A change of pace for Lydia Ko at next week’s NZ PGA Championship in Queenstown.
Queenstown - The 15-year-old Kiwi comes into the tournament in red hot form, having won the New Zealand Women’s Open and finished third in the Australian Women’s Open in world-class company in recent weeks.
Her success over the past 12 months has made her a worldwide sensation and she is now seldom out of the spotlight with her every shot watched with increasing awe around the globe. However, unlike other tournaments where Ko’s exploits are central to the event, in Queenstown she will play a different role.
As one of the celebrities in the Pro-Am field she will be paired with one of the 66 professionals that make the cut and play as a team for the NZ PGA Pro-Am Championship over the last two days. With the Pro-Am being played with a two-ball, best-ball format the North Shore teen should be able to take a step back and enjoy a more laid back competition than she is used to. But despite a more relaxed approach Lydia’s current form should see her pairing rated as serious contenders for the NZ PGA Pro-Am Championship title.
Despite that, there is little doubt Lydia will have an enormous gallery following her around The Hills next week. She is simply the hottest sporting story in town and the fans and media are expected to flock to the course to watch her in action.
NZ PGA Championship Tournament Director Michael Glading says it speaks volumes of Ko’s popularity that she will share the limelight with some impressive names.
“We have a professional field featuring three times US Open winner Hale Irwin, world number 80 Brendan Jones, a host of New Zealand’s best professionals and some top talent from Asia and Australia, yet Lydia will still be in demand. Add the likes of Sir Bob Charles, Sir Ian Botham, Mahe Drysdale, Barry Richards, Jeff Wilson, George Gregan, Nick Farr Jones and Justin Marshall and you realize what a remarkable young lady she is. Lydia is truly an inspiration to all New Zealanders.”
The PGA Tour of Australasia sanctioned NZPGA Championship gets underway on Thursday February 28. For more information on the tournament visit www.pgachampionship.co.nz.
Tickets for the NZ PGA Championship are on sale through Ticketek outlets nationwide. Tickets are $55 for the season (all four days), or $20 a day for Thursday and Friday, and $30 a day Saturday or Sunday.
Lydia Ko at the 2012 NZPGA Pro-Am Championship qualifying round at Jack's Point with the Prime Minister
Photo credit: Michel Thomas, Photosport