Golf: Ko thinks New Zealand can create history

Lydia Ko has spent a fair amount of time with professional golfers in recent weeks, even becoming the youngest winner in LPGA Tour history, but she's looking forward to getting back among 'her own' over the next few days.

The world's leading amateur will lead the New Zealand team at the Espirito Santo world amateur team's championship which begins tomorrow in Turkey and believes they have a good chance of winning.

It's something Ko has experienced a fair bit of in her fledgling career. Not only did she win the Canadian Open on the LPGA Tour, but she also recently became the first Kiwi to US Amateur championship in Cleveland.

The 15-year-old will team up with Emily Perry (Lochiel) and Munchin Keh (Titirangi) in the New Zealand team in her first amateur competition since winning the US Amateur.

"The worlds is such a great competition to be part of with all of the best players from around the world so I am looking forward to this week and hopefully representing New Zealand well,'' she said.

New Zealand have never won the Espirito Santo - the best results remain a runner-up finish in 1982 and 1990 - but Ko is becoming increasingly familiar with breaking history.

"I think we can win and that is the goal any time we enter a golf tournament, to win,'' she said. "I think we have the players to do it. Emily showed this year when she won the New Zealand stroke play that she is good under pressure and I wasn't there for the New Zealand amateur but I am told that Munchin played really well at Mount Maunganui. She is a very consistent golfer.

"We all need to combine well in this format. I am hoping to play well but it will come down to how we work together as a team. Emily and I have some experience on the international stage so that should help, too.''

This will be Ko's second Espirito Santo event after she was part of the team alongside Cecilia Cho and Caroline Bon that finished eighth at the 2010 event in Argentina.

"I was only 13 last time so I feel I have improved a lot since that event. I learned a lot from that experience of what is needed to be in contention to win this event.

"All three players need to help each other out. It is the best two out of three scores from each day so if one of your team members has a bad day then the others have to step up.

"I am the world No 1 so people expect amazing things all the time. It is hard to keep living up to those expectations, but I will set my own goals for the week and try to focus on what I can do every day.

"I know New Zealand has never won this event before so it would be pretty awesome to be part of the team who win the Espirito for the first time. I will be giving it my best and I am sure the other girls will be, too. It is an exciting time.''

- APNZ

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