Lydia Ko ready for next LPGA assignment

CHRIS BARCLAY
Last updated 16:58 20/02/2013
Lydia Ko
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EYES ON THE PRIZE: Lydia Ko lines up a putt on the second hole on day four of the Australian Open.

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New Zealand golfing sensation Lydia Ko is ready to hook into her latest LPGA assignment in Thailand with her coach confident the wayward drives that undermined her Australian Open campaign have been eradicated from her game.

Ko takes advantage of her latest invite at the Siam Country Club in Chonburi tomorrow when the 15-year-old lines up in the $1.5 million Thailand Open.

It will be her 14th professional tournament and although she has already fashioned an enviable record of three wins, two seconds and a third - at Royal Canberra last Sunday - Ko was still dissatisfied at failing to back up her New Zealand Open triumph with victory in the Australian capital.

Ko's pulled drive to the trees lining the first fairway of the final round set an ominous tone and although she recovered on the back nine to draw level with eventual champion Jiyai Shin, Wilson was concerned with her work off the tee.

She tried to compensate by trading her driver for a three-wood but Plan B was unable to prevent her finishing behind four shots behind Shin at 14-under and two adrift of world No 1 Yani Tseng.

Wilson realised what was going awry as he watched her round unfold from Auckland, so could only offer a solution as she pondered a 3-over 76 one of the worst rounds of her career.

Ko's backswing wasn't always in synch with the remainder of her set-up so consequently she occasionally hooked the ball left into difficulty.

"It's a little habit she has now and again, it's something that's happened before," Wilson said as his protégé ironed out the problem in the pre-tournament Pro-Am.

"We've addressed it, it's not something she has to work heaps on."

Wilson thought the stress of sharing the lead with Shin heading into the final 18 holes contributed to Ko's technical glitch - proof she was not quite ready to relinquish her amateur status and go pro.

"She's got to acknowledge what's happening and under the pressure and the heat of the moment it's not something you'd identify straight away.

"That's why she couldn't really rectify it," he explained.

Although clearly tired by her exertions over the past month Wilson said Ko was physically and mentally "raring to go" to make amends for what she considered a poor outcome against players the quality of Shin and Tseng.

"She knew she could have finished well," she was good enough to beat them but didn't pull it off," Wilson said.

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Ko, who has risen four places to 26th on the Rolex women's gold rankings, tackles the 5912-metre layout for the first time; Wilson believed it was well within her capability.

"Distance won't be an issue it will just depend how quickly she gets acclimatised to the heat and humidity," he said.

The world No 1 amateur plays the first two rounds alongside another rising star, 18 year-old Lexi Thompson and fellow American and seven-time Major champion Juli Inkster. 

Thompson, who played alongside Ko for the first time in Australia last year, has won three professional tournaments since gaining an exemption to turn pro at 15. 

Inkster, meanwhile is in the twilight of her career at 52. The world No 158 has won 39 tournaments but only once in the last decade.

Tseng is the two-time defending champion.

- Stuff

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