Lydia Ko to be sole Kiwi in British Open field

FRED WOODCOCK
Last updated 07:48 11/09/2012
Lydia Ko
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WORLD'S BEST: Lydia Ko with her Canadian Open trophy.

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Teenage golf star Lydia Ko will be the only New Zealander in the field for the Women's British Open at Royal Liverpool starting Thursday night (NZT).

Veteran professional Lynnette Brooky, who played the first of her 13 Opens in 1993, has failed to qualify for Hoylake after finishing 48th in the final qualifying event at Caldy Golf Club today.

Brooky needed to finish inside the top 20 in the 70-strong field and despite being on track after 12 holes, she faded badly coming home to card a six-over 78 and miss the cut by three shots.

The Wellingtonian birdied the 12th hole to get back to one-over and sit in the top five, but bogeys at the 13th, 14th and 16th holes and a double-bogey at the par-five 18th put paid to her participation in another Open.

It leaves 15-year-old Aucklander Ko as the only Kiwi in what is a high quality field for the last major championship of the year.

After her stunning win at the Canadian Open on the LPGA Tour last month, Ko took some time out in the country of her birth, South Korea, before hooking up with coach Guy Wilson in Liverpool last week.

The pair have been preparing at nearby Formby Golf Club but had their first glimpse of Royal Liverpool today, amid a concoction of sun, wind and rain as the links course showed some teeth while she played a practice round with Norway's Suzann Pettersen, a former major winner.

Ko, the world No 1 amateur who has risen to No 45 in the overall world rankings, is hot property after an astonishing year of achievement at both amateur and professional level, and perhaps the biggest challenge for her and Wilson ahead of her Open debut, and just second major championship, is keeping focus on her game.

She has been inundated with international media attention and management companies will also be sniffing around, providing a tricky balancing act between pleasing everyone and also looking to get her game in shape for what will be unfamiliar links conditions.

The opening round starts on Thursday night (NZT).

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