Golf: Bristow targeting Olympic place

By Michael Donaldson at Clearwater Resort

Cathryn Bristow is hoping to join Lydia Ko on the Kiwi team at the Rio Olympics. Photo / Getty
Cathryn Bristow is hoping to join Lydia Ko on the Kiwi team at the Rio Olympics. Photo / Getty

Cathryn Bristow is a mammoth 429 places behind Lydia Ko in the world golf rankings but right now she's in a position to join the world No 1 in the elite, 60-strong field at the Rio Olympics.

The formula used to narrow the field for Rio means each country is allowed a maximum of four players so when all the Koreans, Americans and Japanese are crossed out Bristow's world ranking of 430 become No. 56 on the Olympic ranking system.

Whether she can hold her place in the top-60 Olympic rankings when they close on July 11 is one thing; the other is whether the New Zealand Olympic Committee will pick her in the team. The NZOC could argue Bristow might now meet the criteria of being a good chance to finish inside the top-16.

New Zealand Golf could counter with two words: Michael Campbell, who won the2005 US Open after only just scraping into the field. And golf is littered with other major winners who've had the week of their lives to win against the odds.

Bristow, 31, is also in the best form of her life. She won the Anita Boon pro-am in Auckland late last year before taking out back-to-back pro-am events in Australia ahead of finishing in a tie for 11th at the Victoria Open last week.

She continued in that vein with an opening round of 3-under par 69 to be level with Ko after the first round of the New Zealand Women's Open at Clearwater Resort in Christchurch.

Despite the success she wasn't yet packing mosquito repellent for a trip Rio.

"It would be an amazing thing to achieve - to go to Rio but I just have to think about right now. It's in the back of my mind but it's not something I'm focusing on because I can't think that far ahead. I have to play well for the next five or six months to get in the team."

Bristow attributes her new-found form to "an accumulation of the that work you do and seeing that pay off and listening to my coach [Arron Cole] a bit more, finally."

As she spoke to the media, Bristow was informed she was sitting alongside Ko on the leaderboard. "I hadn't actually looked at the leaderboard; so good, that's nice to know - you're always comparing yourself to the best, so be tied with her after the first day is pretty cool. I'll have to take a photo [of the leaderboard]."

And send it to the NZOC.

- NZ Herald

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