World No 1 amateur Lydia Ko will become only the second amateur from New Zealand to play at the US Open when she tees off tomorrow.
Ko, who became the youngest winner in both men's and women's professional golf when she claimed the NSW Open, has a history of rising to the occasion.
The enormity of playing the US Open - the only other Kiwi amateur to feature was Olivia Hartley in 1999 - is not lost on the Gulf Harbour teen.
"Being around and playing with the world's best is overwhelming," said Ko from Wisconsin.
"Words can't explain how awesome it is. I got an autograph from Michelle Wie and also Annika Sorenstam.
"Being able to play the Open is such an honour. Even a few of the pros are unable to play but to be able to play still as an amateur it makes it more exciting."
Ko has been pleased with her practice rounds where she got a good idea of the Blackwolf Run course.
"It is quite a long course. The fairways are quite wide but it has hazards in the areas where the drives would go. Even the short holes are not easy. It is clearly shown from the winning score in 1998 [five over par total].
Ko is hoping to make the cut in her major debut, but that will involve playing through the stifling heat in Wisconsin with temperatures reaching the high 30s.
"But everyone is playing in the same weather so I'm getting used to it, even though the water I put in gets sweated out the same amount.
"I have made a good plan with my caddie. I am confident going into the tournament as I have practiced really hard in New Zealand and also am well prepared. The only thing I can do now is try my best. Go New Zealand."
Ko is teeing off from the first tee alongside Hee Young Park of Korea and Dewi Claire Schreefel of the Netherlands in round one just after 6am (NZ time).
She will not be the youngest in history to play the US Open. That record is held by American Lexi Thompson who was only 12-years-old when she qualified in 2007.
- © Fairfax NZ News