Golf: Ko looks to continue her form in Arkansas

World No 1 amateur Lydia Ko is looking for a solid performance at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship this week on the LPGA Tour. Photo / Getty Images.
World No 1 amateur Lydia Ko is looking for a solid performance at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship this week on the LPGA Tour. Photo / Getty Images.

World No 1 amateur Lydia Ko is looking for a solid performance at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship this week on the LPGA Tour to be ready for the upcoming US Open Championship in New York.

Ko is one of two sponsor exemptions, and amateurs, in the field for the 54-hole event that tees off on Saturday (NZT) at the Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Arkansas.

The 16-year-old from the Gulf Harbour Country Club, who shot a three-under 69 in the final round of the LPGA Championship recently to finish in a share of 17th place, was pleased with her comeback in her fourth major after a slow start.

She wants to continue that momentum in her ninth start on the LPGA Tour as she looks ahead to next week where she'll once again try to become the youngest major winner - across men and women - in history.

"Playing well this week will definitely give me extra confidence heading into next week at the U.S.

Open,'' said the world No 19.

"It seems like it will get pretty hot out here the next couple of days so one of my main goals is to keep cool so I can concentrate better. I am going to try my best and see.''

Ko ``trying her best'' has proven pretty successful the last few years. She is yet to miss a cut in 18 professional events and has finished as the leading amateur in all four majors she has contested.

Last year, Ko became the youngest winner in LPGA Tour history when she claimed the CN Canadian Open and is also the youngest winner on the Ladies European Tour (New Zealand Women's Open 2013) and the ALPG Tour (NSW Open 2012).

She likes the Pinnacle Country Club, which feels relatively easy after the tough and narrow test of the Locust Hill Country Club, venue for the LPGA Championship.

"It has wider fairways compared to last week's fairways but the course itself is in great condition.''

The Pinehurst School Student was relatively happy with her effort in her fourth major.

"I had a really slow start, starting around 90th place, and came up to 17th. I was a bit disappointed with how I finished in round three but you know after every tournament I come off knowing I could have done something better.''

It is that mindset of never being satisfied that has driven Ko to the top of the amateur world rankings and one of the hottest prospects in the game.

The other amateur in this week's tournament is University of Arkansas freshman Gaby Lopez.

Tournament director Harry Hardy said: ``We have been very impressed by Lydia and Gaby and we're thrilled to have them play in the tournament this year.

"Lydia has already won a professional event and turned in several impressive finishes in her young career. Giving these amateurs a chance to prove themselves on the biggest stage is great, not only for the players, but for the fans and the community as well.''

- APNZ

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf01 at 29 Dec 2014 12:24:40 Processing Time: 226ms