NZ Women's Open: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

20:27, Feb 04 2014
Lydia Ko: Day One at Clearwater
IN ACTION: Lydia Ko on Day One at the NZ Women's Open.
Lydia Ko: Day One at Clearwater
CLOSER LOOK: Lydia Ko tests her swing.
Lydia Ko: Day One at Clearwater
CROWD APPEAL: Dozens of golf fans are at Clearwater for the NZ Women's Open.
Hyeji Lee of Korea
COMPETITOR: Hyeji Lee of Korea
Hyeji Lee of Korea
SCENIC SPOT: Hyeji Lee, of Korea, at Clearwater
Scorers at the Clearwater leaderboard
LEADERBOARD: Scorers keep a close eye on the action
Seon Woo Bae of Korea
RIVAL: Seon Woo Bae of Korea
Charley Hull of England
Charley Hull of England sends the ball flying.
Lydia Ko's final hole
NICE ONE: Lydia Ko celebrates chipping in for birdie on the last hole.
NZ Women's Golf Open
COMPETING: Caroline Martens of Norway.
Jessica Speechley of Australia
INTERNATIONAL: Jessica Speechley of Australia
NZ Women's Golf Open
REFUELLING: An official snacks on a pie while he awaits the players.
Beth Allen
A CLOSER LOOK: Beth Allen from the USA
Lydia Ko starts on day two
DAY TWO: Lydia Ko makes her start at Clearwater.
Kyu Jung Baek of Korea
SWING ACTION: Kyu Jung Baek of Korea
Lydia Ko's colourful golf cart
COLOURFUL: Lydia Ko's with her golf cart.
Women's Golf Open - Day Two
HAVING A CHAT: Stacey Keating, left, from Australia with Lydia Ko.
Anya Alvarez
RESULT: Anya Alvarez, USA, celebrates finishing her round in the lead.
Tyler Kingi
FADING LIGHT: Kiwi Tyler Kingi plays a chip shot on 9.
Lydia Ko
CAREFUL: Lydia Ko on day two at Clearwater.
Lydia Ko
CROWD-PLEASER: Thousands came to watch Lydia Ko play.
Anya Alvarez
WINNING ACTION: American Anya Alvarez on day two.
Lydia Ko frowning
NOT HAPPY: Not every shot goes perfectly for Lydia Ko.
Anya Alvarez
AIMING FOR THE TOP: American Anya Alvarez
Anya Alvarez
FROM THE SHADOWS: Crowd watches American Anya Alvarez
Christel Boeljon
DAY THREE: Christel Boeljon of the Netherlands
Lydia Ko in action
CONCENTRATION: Lydia Ko on day three at Clearwater.
Clearwater crowd day three
SPECTATOR SPORT: A huge crowd has gathered at Clearwater, six deep in some places.
Mi Hyang Lee
CHAMPION: Mi Hyang Lee from South Korea celebrates with Kyu-Jung Baek, left and Seonwoo Bae from Korea.
Mi Hyang Lee
WINNING FORM: Mi Hyang Lee from South Korea.

As the Lydia Ko show, better known as the New Zealand Women's Open, moves away from Clearwater and members try their best to replicate winner Mi Hyang Lee's magical round, On The Tee has a look back at the good, the bad and the ugly of the event.

The Good

Lee was sensational. While Ko and co were battling it out trying to beat each other and the Clearwater course, Lee was slaying it.

Golf crowds
THE BAD: The behaviour of a few Open spectators was pretty poor.

The world No 256 - which made her just the 94th best South Korean - made an eagle and seven birdies in her flawless round which included just 26 putts. She was simply brilliant. And modest to boot; she spent half the post-tournament press conference with her head in her hands embarrassed at her perceived lack of English which, for the record, was fine.

Like Ko she was also crook with a stomach bug early in the tournament, but was back to her best by Sunday.

Ko wasn't and was very close to pulling out of the event all together before her second round, but hung tough because she didn't want to let any fans down.


Lee's world ranking leapt from 256 to 145 while the second and third-best New Zealanders both did well too.

Cathryn Bristow and Caroline Bon both finished in a tie for 26th at even par. Bristow climbed 57 places to 502, Bon 122 places to 566 while former Kiwi Cecilia Cho, who fired a final round two-under 70 to finish one-under and in a tie for 20th, leapt 228 places to 611 in the world.

The Bad

The crowds. There were plenty of them, but the behaviour of a few was pretty poor.

Ko said players would rather have big crowds than well-behaved crowds, but it's not so clear all her playing partners felt the same. After Ko had putted out, the often five-deep gallery would start talking and moving while the other players were still putting out.

In their defence there were no signs explaining the basic etiquette, but one would have thought common sense might have prevailed.

Also, the group of middle-aged women wishing Ko's opponents' balls into trouble; that's just the behaviour of average human beings.

The Ugly

The hole-in-one competition was a joke. Laura Davies shanked her ball, three others missed the green all together and 36-hole leader Anya Alvarez was on the green, but miles away. The rules around the insurance of the $1m prize meant the players had to hit from 165m and they didn't even scare the flag.

The idea was solid, the crowd was bumper, but the execution very average.

A 130m competition would have been so much more exciting or, if it had to be 165m, they should have opened it up to more players or added punters too.