Putting key to Ko's chances at Clearwater

MATT RICHENS
Last updated 13:55 06/02/2013
Lydia Ko
GRAHAME COX/Fairfax NZ
GREAT EXPECTATIONS: Lydia Ko.

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New Zealand golf star Lydia Ko says how she putts at this week's New Zealand Open will determine where she finishes.

The world's top amateur admits to having trouble with the putter of late, but has spent plenty of time working on it and is confident her short game will be back where it needs to be this week at Christchurch's Clearwater Golf Course.

Ko has been in the Garden City for more than a week already preparing for the Open where she is one of a dozen amateurs in the 144-strong field.

"I've been struggling with it but hopefully a few will go in," the 15-year-old said today of her recent putting.

"Personally I think putting is the biggest part of the whole game, but you have to be accurate here too. Especially when the wind gets up."

The New Zealand Open is the first time Ko has played a tournament at Clearwater, a course that last held the Open in 2009.

She's played the course every day for a week now and a round in awful conditions yesterday showed the New Zealand No 1 just how tough it can be.

"I think it's a really good course, but it's tricky," she said.

"Obviously it will blow and the course played very differently yesterday to the others day I've been playing it.

"But I'm pretty excited to play it."

Understandably tournament organisers have used Ko  to front their promotion of the 54-hole event and seeing her name and face on posters has taken some getting used to.

"When you want to become a world class player, you have to get used to it," she said.

"It's pretty cool, but then it's kind of embarrassing too."

The three-round tournament begins on Friday.

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