Polite Ko wades through pre-open question time

FRED WOODCOCK
Last updated 05:00 13/02/2014
Lydia Ko
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PRO KIWI: Lydia Ko has been a success since turning professional.

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Same questions, different week for Lydia Ko.

Having answered myriad questions about her recent coaching split and change of club manufacturer ahead of tournaments in the Bahamas and Christchurch last month, the 16-year-old Kiwi golfer has been inundated with the same questions - this time from the Aussie press in Melbourne on the eve of the Australian Open.

Ko answered them all politely and even added a touch of humour, but she must be getting tired of it.

About the only new thing we learnt yesterday was that she has "All Blacks" embedded on her wedges - a nice Kiwi touch from the world No 4 and hottest property in women's golf.

Ko heads into the Australian Open as a title favourite - only Norway's world No 2 Suzann Pettersen and American Stacy Lewis, the world No 3, are ranked ahead of her - but the field of 156 is strong and, being an LPGA Tour tournament, has attracted plenty of players with title-winning credentials.

Ko was third at Royal Canberra 12 months ago and given her recent form, with a top-10 in the LPGA Tour's season-opening Bahamas event and solo second at the New Zealand Women's Open in Christchurch, she has plenty of confidence heading into her fourth Australian Open.

"The new clubs feel great in my hands and there hasn't been huge changes to my swing [under new coach Sean Hogan] so the transition has been seamless," she said.

Ko has some knowledge of the Victoria Golf Club; the Australian Amateur championship was held there two years ago and she's had a couple of practice rounds ahead of the first round in the $US1.2 million ($1.44m) event.

"It looks like a course where you've got to drive it well to score well. Obviously you've got to putt well, too, but just playing consistently from tee to green."

Ko tees off at 10.15am today (NZT) alongside two Spaniards - Beatriz Recari, a winner on the LPGA Tour last year, and Azahara Munoz.

Fellow Kiwis Cathryn Bristow and Caroline Bon also line up in the co-sanctioned LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and ALPG (Australian) Tour tournament which features four of the world's top-10 players and plenty more in the top-50.

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