Lydia Ko leads NZ challenge at world event
Lydia Ko ate turkey for the first time in Turkey and it's not the only breakthrough she and her New Zealand team-mates are hoping for this week at the world amateur teams golf championship in Antalya.
Ko, 15, Emily Perry, 21, and Munchin Keh, 19, are chasing New Zealand's first win at the Espirito Santo Trophy, the country's best results from 24 previous editions having been runner-up finishes in 1982 and 1990.
Ko, the world No 1, will be the best player on show at the Gloria Golf Club and should win most of her matches but Perry and Keh must provide support if the Kiwis are to challenge the defending champions, South Korea, who won by a whopping 17 shots in 2010.
Ko is coming to the end of a three-month overseas stint which has seen her win the US Amateur and the Canadian Open on the LPGA Tour as well as the amateur medals at the US and British Opens.
Perry, who beat Ko at the New Zealand strokeplay championship in March, is preparing to turn pro after this tournament and Keh has won five times in New Zealand this year, including the New Zealand Amateur title.
"We all need to combine well in this format," Ko said.
"I am hoping to play well but it will come down to how we work together as a team."
This is Ko's second Espirito Santo after she played alongside Cecilia Cho and Caroline Bon in Argentina two years ago, when New Zealand were eighth. Perry, who spent four days with Michael Campbell in Spain and five days practising in Morocco in preparation for Ladies European Tour Q-School en route to Turkey, and Keh are first-timers.
Two courses will be used this week, with the old course tight off the tee and the new course more a resort-style layout. The Kiwis have been working hard to adapt to the ultra-grainy Bermuda grass ahead of the first round, which starts tonight (NZT).
A record 53 teams are competing this week. Each country has two or three players, who each play 18 holes of strokeplay over four days. The total of the two lowest scores constitutes the score for each round.
- © Fairfax NZ News