New Zealand Golf chief executive Dean Murphy remains hopeful that Lydia Ko will play in next year's national women's open at Clearwater.

The tournament, which is scheduled for February 27-March 1, sits on the Ladies European Tour as opposed to the LPGA Tour where Ko regularly plays but it is an event that Ko has strongly supported in the past, while she is also a former champion.

She finished second, one stroke back from Korean Mi Hyang Lee, at the three-round tournament this year but the story of the event was the huge galleries that followed the teenager throughout the week.

Ko, who finished an astonishing rookie campaign on the LPGA Tour yesterday with victory at the season-ending Tour Championship as she topped the Race to the CME Globe standings, is likely to return to New Zealand at the end of the week.


Murphy said he expected to catch up with Ko and her team in the next couple of weeks to get a firm decision around whether the 17-year-old would line up at Clearwater in 2015.

"I think it's going to be difficult and we are realistic about it," Murphy said. "We are on different tours and her schedule is pretty busy these days and her priority is to be the big show on the LPGA Tour. So I think we need to accept that Lydia's not going to be able to play every year of the New Zealand Open but she certainly wants to and will do her best when she can."

Ko, the world No 3, has said she would take a couple of weeks off following yesterday's success but part of that may be spent plotting her tournament schedule for 2015.
Murphy remained confident the tournament would still be able to generate enough interest if Ko didn't play.

"I think it would be more difficult, Lydia's played every New Zealand Women's Open so far and been a great attraction. That being said, the field really is world class and there's lot of the top players in the world that play the event. But we all know that Lydia is the hottest thing in men's or women's golf at the moment."

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