Lydia Ko takes hope from Michelle Wie’s victory

MATT RICHENS
Last updated 05:00 27/06/2014
IDOL: Lydia Ko and Michelle Wie hug after completing their round at the ISPS Handa Australian Open last year.
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IDOL: Lydia Ko and Michelle Wie hug after completing their round at the ISPS Handa Australian Open last year.

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Lydia Ko is taking inspiration from her on-tour big sister Michelle Wie’s US Open success.

Ko, 17, will tomorrow tee it up in the $2.3m Arkansas Championship, the only LPGA Tour tournament between last week’s US Open and next month’s Women’s British Open.

Comparisons between Ko and Wie have been made ever since Ko started playing in the United States and Ko has consistently talked about Wie as one of her idols.

Wie shocked many last week, winning the US Open and recording just her fourth LPGA Tour win despite this being her ninth season as a professional.

Ko has won five professional tournaments already, three on the LPGA Tour.

‘‘She’s playing awesome golf,’’ Ko said about Wie.

‘‘She has [for] the last year or so. I mean, people kind of, I think, had doubts maybe of Michelle, but she’s proven herself that she’s a major winner. It kind of gives me more hope that I can become a player like her, a player as successful and as good as her.’’

The Arkansas Championship is one of the few LPGA Tour events Ko has already played and that’s likely to make her both more confident and more of a threat at this 54-hole event.

The world No 3 last year finished the event at 10-under and in a tie for fourth with current world No 1 Stacy Lewis, who she will play alongside tomorrow and Sunday (NZ time).

World No 2 Inbee Park won last year in a playoff.

‘‘I don’t know many of the courses out here so I feel lucky that I have played this one,’’ Ko said.

‘‘Yeah, it’s a little less pressure on me so that I don’t need to push myself to kind of get all the work done before [tomorrow].’’

And while a number of golfers might have considered a break before heading to the Royal Birkdale Golf Club for the women’s British Open, Ko said she’d rather have played an extra week in the United States

‘‘This is actually one of my favorite tournaments I played last year, so I’m super excited to come back.

‘‘I think playing pretty good golf last week definitely helps to make the transition much easier, especially after playing the Pinehurst greens. The greens here seem a little easier than what we were hitting into last week.’’

Ko, Lewis and world No 18 Jessica Korda tee off at 6.14am tomorrow morning.

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