Lydia Ko on the brink of creating history, again

MATT RICHENS
Last updated 05:00 19/06/2014
Lydia Ko
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HISTORY BECKONS? Kiwi golf sensation Lydia Ko.

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Lydia Ko continues to surround herself with the best people available as she looks to break a 146-year-old record this week at the US Open.

Ko, 17, will have two-time major winning caddy Mike "Fluff" Cowan on her bag for this week's major at Pinehurst.

This year she signed up to work with self-proclaimed "world's leading golf instructor" David Leadbetter.

Cowan was on the bag for Tiger Woods when he won the 1997 Masters and on Jim Furyk's bag when he won the 2003 US Open.

Should the 37-year tour veteran help Kiwi Ko to victory this week, she will become golf's youngest ever major winner.

Young Tom Morris holds that record and has done so since he won the 1868 Open Championship at the Prestwick Golf Club in Scotland.

Ko said Cowan's experience would be crucial at Pinehurst's difficult No 2 course where Cowan helped Furyk to a tie for 12th last week.

"It's a really good idea having somebody who is as experienced as Fluff and who knows the course," Ko said.

"I think it's a little bit of an advantage having someone like that on my bag."

Cowan last caddied in a women's tournament for a then-13-year-old Michelle Wie in 2004.

"It's going to be something of a learning experience for me," he said.

"But hopefully it all works out."

A win for Ko at what is her ninth major and third US Open would mean she takes over the world No 1 title from American Stacy Lewis.

Cowan can't believe the New Zealand teenager is as high as she is.

"It's quite an accomplishment, without a doubt. I mean, God almighty, 17-years-old and you're considered to be the third best player in the world? I'm really looking forward to watching her play."

Cowan said while the course would be set-up differently from last week's men's event, won handsomely by German Martin Kaymer, his experience would still be an advantage.

"The greens still have all the run-offs and roll, little funny places, and I think I'll be able to hopefully guide her away from having that happen a lot."

Ko has yet to play as well in majors as she has in the week to week tour tournaments.

She has a best of second at last year's Evian Championship, but after that has a string of middle-of-the-pack finishes including at her two previous US Opens where she was tied for 39th and 36th respectively.

Ko has been paired with 2007 US Open winner Cristie Kerr and two-time major winner and world No 4 Suzann Pettersen for the first rounds.

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The trio begin their tournament at 5.47am tomorrow.

IF KO WON SHE WOULD BECOME:

- $675,000 richer

- the first New Zealand women to win a major

- the third New Zealander to win a major after Sir Bob Charles (1963) and Michael Campbell (2005).

- the youngest winner of a golf major, beating Young Tom Morris who was 17 years and 157 days when he won the Open Championship 146-years ago.

- the women's world No 1

- the youngest ever world No 1 in either the men's or women's game, beating Korea's Jiyai Shin (22 years and five days) and Tiger Woods (21 years and 167 days).

- The Press

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