Patrick McKendry

Patrick McKendry is a rugby writer for the Herald.

Golf: Ko heads to Thailand tournament

Lydia Ko. Photo / Getty Images
Lydia Ko. Photo / Getty Images

New Zealand's golfing sensation Lydia Ko won't have much time to dwell on her disappointment of finishing third in the Australian Open - she is already on her way to a professional tournament in Thailand.

Ko will compete in the Honda LGPA Thailand which starts on Thursday at the Siam Country Club in Chonburi before returning to New Zealand to take part in the NZ PGA Championship at the The Hills course near Queenstown from February 28.

The 15-year-old captured the attention of the golfing world with her exploits at Royal Canberra, backing up from winning the New Zealand Open in Christchurch the weekend before with a 10 under par 63 in the first round.

Two steady rounds of 69 and 70 kept her at the top of the leaderboard with eventual winner Jihai Shin before a disappointing round of 76 yesterday dropped her to third.

A scratchy start, in which Ko double bogeyed the first hole and bogeyed the second, quickly put her three shots behind playing partner Shin.

Despite a mid-round recovery, Ko was overtaken by Yani Tseng, finishing at 14 under to Shin's 18 under and Tseng's 16 under. World No1 Tseng, of Taiwan, is the two-time defending champion of the Honda LGPA Thailand.

Ko's coach Guy Wilson said today that his charge was not affected by the slow playing of Shin. The Korean was warned by officials after her methodical approach to every shot put the pair behind schedule.

"That wasn't to blame at all," he said.

Wilson said Ko was looking forward to playing in Thailand and then returning to New Zealand for the Queenstown tournament.

"It's a fun week for her. Her score isn't competing; she is down there as more of a celebrity."

Wilson said Ko was unaware of the attention she was receiving around the world. In the United States, the Golf Channel changed its schedule to broadcast the final round live.

"She doesn't really know too much about it back here in New Zealand. She will obviously be aware of what's on her Facebook and Twitter accounts and stuff like that but she doesn't really know the full picture. It's huge, there are so many people out there watching her."

- APNZ

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