Ko links with coach ahead of British Open

LINKS GOLF: Lydia Ko of New Zealand hits a tee shot.
LINKS GOLF: Lydia Ko of New Zealand hits a tee shot.

Lydia Ko's game will be better suited to the links golf she will encounter at next month's British Open than the courses she has excelled on in North America, her coach Guy Wilson says.

But in the same breath he also wonders if the 15-year-old Kiwi sensation can maintain such imperious form after a gruelling playing and travel schedule and feature on the leaderboard at the fourth and final major of the year.

After stunning the golfing world again this week when she won the Canadian Open, becoming the youngest winner in the LPGA Tour's 62-year history and toppling 19 of the top-20 ranked professionals in the world, Ko is taking a break to see family in the country of her birth, South Korea, before heading to England.

Wilson, who was not in Vancouver last week because of financial restraints and the fact he still has a coaching business to run, will head to Liverpool next Wednesday and meet up with his prodigy to prepare for the Open at Royal Liverpool, Hoylake, from September 13 to 16.

A contact has got the pair full access to nearby Formby Golf Club links until they can get on Royal Liverpool on the Monday of tournament week, and there's plenty to work on.

"As you know it's completely different golf over there, she'll be hitting way different shots to America," Wilson said yesterday in reference to links-style golf, which aids low ball flighters who run shots up onto the green.

"I think it will suit her better. As long as we use our heads and pick our targets, making sure we land shots short of the green and run them up as opposed to playing target golf at the pin, it should suit her."

Ko, the world's top amateur, tied for 39th and was the best amateur at the US Open in June, her first major championship, but has since won the US Amateur and Canadian Open.

Nothing can be ruled out with such prodigious talent, but Wilson is cautious of what he will find when they meet up.

"She's been away for so long, since June, she's probably feeling a little bit buggered with all the travel and the golf," he said.

"She's been away from training and physio for so long I don't know where her body is at. We can't expect the ideal performance."

Ko, whose win in Canada saw her leap from 185 to 45 in the world rankings, implemented significant swing changes earlier in the year and Wilson is chuffed with the results - she's driving 20 to 30 yards longer and with more consistency.

That, coupled with a lift in her short game, has been a big factor.

"It was the missing piece of the puzzle," Wilson said of her short game.

"It hasn't been bad, she just hadn't been taking the opportunities she had been getting. She hits it so close that if she doesn't hole a putt, she feels like she's not taking advantage.

"I told her to jump online and give me 20 quotes from articles praising her short game, because she can get negative on it."

Fairfax Media