Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

Golf: Lydia Ko hits high notes - Simply our best golfer

Lydia Ko displays the trophy after winning the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. Photo / Getty Images
Lydia Ko displays the trophy after winning the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. Photo / Getty Images

All the numbers sing about Lydia Ko's talent and soon there will be harmony that she is the best golfer in New Zealand's professional history.

The 19-year-old yesterday bagged another win at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship with a tournament low score of 17-under including a record-equalling 62.

This was Ko's third victory this year in a list of successes which include her ANA major win while she also lost a sudden-death playoff against Brooke Henderson in the second PGA major this season.

Ko's feats throw her into the middle of comparative debate about her feats alongside those of famed Kiwi golfers Bob Charles and Michael Campbell.

Ko's success was the 13th of her remarkable career as she made a fast start with birdies on four of her opening five holes then three bogeys mixed with another couple of birdies as she strolled to the finish.

The teenager's winning cheque was US$300,000 which bumps her earnings to US$1.8 million this year and her career winnings above US $6.5 million in her short career.

Ko interacted with the rowdy frivolity on the par three 17th when players wear dress up masks, but her concentration slipped on the last when she tugged her six iron into the water on the par 5 finishing hole. She did well to salvage a bogey after her recovery shot went long.

"I think I was a little bit aggressive," she said about her shot into the water.

"It was either me needing to hit three wood to get over the water or lay up short of the hazard but I think it was 'hey no I'm going to hit six'."

Ko was confident about reaching the green with her six iron but pulled it a touch from a draw lie and dunked it in the water.

"It's not the greatest ending to finish with a six but I guess it covers up for how well I played earlier today. I hit the ball really well in the front nine and I think that definitely helped," she said.

Normally Ko brushes away high praise about her feats but the pride in her work throughout the tournament shone in her conversation. She played strongly in all three rounds and been especially content with her work.

"It's not the fanciest finish me finishing with a six but I just think about it as bogeying another hole."

Now she heads for a week's break from tournament play before heading for the US Open starting on July 7 in California.

"This gives me confidence," she said of her latest win, "and I am excited about a week off. This last stretch of three weeks I came really close in Seattle and then I ground my way through last week.

"The US Open is coming up and I am super-excited about CordeValle. I think it is a great course and hopefully a lot of fans come out to support us."

- NZ Herald

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