Golfing great in awe of Lydia Ko's talent
Kiwi Lydia Ko (file pic)
Women's golf great Laura Davies can't imagine her sport producing another phenomenon to match the deeds of New Zealand teenager Lydia Ko.
Davies spoke in glowing terms of Auckland 15-year-old Ko, who is seeking to become the first Kiwi to win the New Zealand Women's Open near Christchurch this week.
The world's top-ranked amateur has climbed to 38th in the overall world rankings even though she has played in just 11 professional tournaments.
One of them resulted in victory at the Canadian Open last August, making her the youngest winner in LPGA Tour history.
Her amateur achievements and consistency of performance are like nothing the accomplished Davies, 49, has seen.
The Englishwoman has won 84 professional tournaments in a career that spans 27 years.
"It is incredible and I don't think that there will be another golfer like Lydia. What she achieved last year was just phenomenal," Davies said.
"Golfers just don't do that when they are 15. When I think about what I was doing at the age of 15 I was playing netball and hockey at school level.
"I hadn't even touched a golf club yet. She has the ability to go on and be one of the greats of the game."
Davies remembers shaking her head when a 12-year-old Ko won the amateur title at the 2010 New Zealand Women's Open.
"I didn't see her play but I finished seven-under par for the week and she finished three-under and I knew how well I had played.
"I knew then that she was something else. Normally these young sensations come and go but Lydia hasn't - she has just got better and better. She is not disappearing at all. In fact she is handling the pressure of being the next big thing remarkably well."
The three-round Open begins at Clearwater Golf Club on Friday.