Lydia Ko finishes top-10 with plenty in reserve

MATT RICHENS
Last updated 05:00 28/01/2014
Lydia Ko
TOP TEN SPOT: Lydia Ko finished in a tie for fourth position in the Bahamas.

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Lydia Ko opened her 2014 LPGA Tour season with a top-10 and a handy 15-under total, but is confident she has more in the tank at this week's New Zealand Women's Open in Christchurch.

Ko finished the season-opening Bahamas Classic with a bogey-free, five-under 68 at the Ocean Club Golf Course yesterday to finish in a tie for seventh, but told Fairfax Media she knew she could play better.

"I left a lot out there to be honest," she said.

"I made five birdies and it was still a bogey free round, but I thought I played worse than my score."

Ko was happy to have created so many opportunities, but disappointed not to convert more.

Through 11-holes, she'd made just one birdie with her 10 pars and was slipping out of the top 10 until she got hot down the stretch.

She birdied 12, 14, 15 and 18 on the way home to ensure a handy pay-day of US$31,543 (NZ$38,234).

The tournament was won by American Jessica Korda at 19-under after she negotiated her way under television camera cables to birdie the last and beat countrywoman and world No 3 Stacy Lewis by a single shot.

Korda and Lewis were two of five players to shoot seven-under 66s in a low scoring final day in the Caribbean.

Ko and a number of other players now make a mad dash from the Bahamas to Christchurch for this week's New Zealand Open.

They are expected to arrive tomorrow before the 54-hole tournament kicks off on Friday at the Clearwater Golf Course.

"It's definitely going to be tough," Ko said.

"It's not a short flight across the country, it's a long way down there.

"[It will be okay] I'll just do some practice on Wednesday and not over-do it."

While Ko didn't win or make as many birdies as she would have liked, there was plenty to like about her play this week.

She drove exceptionally, missing just eight fairways all week and hit 83 per cent of greens in regulation despite the beach-side tournament being played in plenty of wind.

That bodes well for the coming week as the Clearwater course can be plagued by wind.

Ko showed no ill-effects of a change in equipment, change of coach, a new caddie and months of off-course drama, either, and the initial offerings suggest, as expected, that she'll make the transition from amateur to fulltime pro with ease

And despite a bit of expected jet-lag, the world No 4 will be the hottest of favourites as she attempts to add the New Zealand Open to the Canadian Open as titles she's successfully defended.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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