Golf: NZ confident of first win in 13 years

Lydia Ko. Photo / File
Lydia Ko. Photo / File

New Zealand haven't won golf's Queen Sirikit Cup in more than a decade but this year's team is determined to end that drought.

World No 1 Lydia Ko will be joined by New Zealand stroke play champion Emily Perry and Chantelle Cassidy to contest the 34th Queen Sirikit Cup in Singapore starting on Monday.

New Zealand have won the cup three times (1984, 1990 and 1999) and this year's team heads to the Tanah Merah Country Club in Singapore with plenty of self-belief after the trio recently finished in the top three at the stroke play championship in Hastings.

"I think we have a great chance of winning," said Ko, who will celebrate her 15th birthday at the event. "We are confident and we'll be going to Singapore to give it our best. New Zealand hasn't won the title in ages, since 1999, so it would be pretty special to win it again and I know all of the girls will be working hard toward that."

The Queen Sirikit Cup is an annual contest between 14 nations from the Asia Pacific region. Officially it is known as the Amateur Ladies Asia-Pacific Invitational team championship.

The Kiwi team is looking to replicate the effort of New Zealand's most recent win in 1999. The New Zealand team of Lisa Aldridge, Renee Fowler and Tina Howard won the title from Chinese Taipei in a playoff at Paraparaumu Beach.

Ko and Perry are returning for their third Queen Sirikit Cup. The pair joined with Cecilia Cho to finish fifth in 2011, 11 shots behind winners Korea.

"Playing for New Zealand in a team environment is something pretty special and it is something that we don't do very often so I want to make the most of that," Ko said. "We played well at the Queen Sirikit Cup in 2010 in New Zealand but not so well last year in India. We want to make up for that."

Korea have won the event 14 times and are among the favourites again. Australia have won on eight occasions and Japan have won five titles since the championship began in 1979.

- APNZ

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