Lydia Ko in first major, makes US Open cut
Sat, 07 Jul 2012 11:52a.m.
The 15-year-old carded an even par 72 at the notoriously difficult Blackwolf Run Golf Club in Wisconsin today to climb eight places into a share of 33rd and safely inside the cutline on her major debut.
Ko is only the second New Zealand amateur to contest the US Open Championship after Olivia Hartley in 1999 who missed the cut with rounds of 81 and 87.
The second round is yet to be completed but at this stage the Gulf Harbour golfer will begin the third round seven shots back from Norway’s Suzann Petersen (71, 68) who holds a one shot lead over American Michelle Wie.
Ko was happy to meet her goal of even par today as she felt much more comfortable on the greens.
“It was much better today,” said the youngest winner in professional golf history.
“The first three holes [in round one] my hands were shaking I was so nervous and I was trying to line up my putts but I couldn’t get it straight.
“I made a birdie on 11. I hit it to 12 feet past the hole, my putting was rolling well today. I made bogeys on 12 and 13 yesterday and was happy to make pars on both of them today.
“I made birdie on 15 and then double on 17 and it kind of went down but I made birdie on two and I was putting well then. I shot one under on the front nine which was my back nine so I was pretty happy.”
At 6359m Blackwolf Run is the longest course that Ko has ever played in a tournament. She has been preparing for the length from the black tees of her new home course at Gulf Harbour.
“Gulf Harbour was playing 7000 yards [6400m] which was playing in a longer condition because it was wet. So I came prepared for that and expected that distance. It’s a bit drier here which is helping.”
“We had the video tape of [Korean Se Ri Pak] winning at this golf course [in 1998] so I looked over it. Score wise with plus six being the winning score, it was much harder then…I think it’s being a bit more generous.”
The hardest thing to get familiar with is the relentless heat.
“I am just trying to keep cool I have had a wet towel on me and I’m using an umbrella to stay cool as much as possible.”
Ko is taking each round in her stride as she mixes with the best women golfers in the world.
“I think just playing along with the pros, that is a positive for me and I am here for experience – even if I come first or like top 10 I am not going to get any money so (laughs)… I am just playing here for fun and I’m going to enjoy every moment that I have.
“I am not going to be fully stressed about it – hopefully I will be able to play with some great players and just enjoy it.”
Ko still has her eyes on the top of the leaderboard but at the same time is monitoring the progress of her fellow amateur competitors. She currently holds a two shot lead in the amateur ranks with American Emma Talley tied 52nd after rounds of 73 and 75.
“There are many talented amateurs out there and they are going to try to their best as well we’ll see how we go.”
Ko knows that the golfing community back home in New Zealand is following her every move in her major debut and appreciated the support.
“I am missing New Zealand a lot. I don’t which weather I would rather. It is seven degrees there and like 35 degrees here so maybe a mixture of both and that would be pretty good.“
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