Thursday, January 30, 2014

Ko & Co. to Vie for Big Kiwi on LET/ALPG

Less than a week after playing well enough to win her 1st tournament as an LPGA member, Lydia Ko travels most of the way around the world to defend her LET/ALPG title at the ISPS Handa New Zealand Open against the likes of fellow teenagers Charley Hull, Kyu-Jung Baek, Xi Yu Lin, Cecelia Cho, and Shelly Shin, global superstars Laura Davies, Sophie Gustafson, Lorie Kane, Melissa Reid, and Gwladys Nocera, players making names for themselves like Christel Boeljon, Joanna Klatten, Valentine Derrey, Frances Bondad, Kristie Smith, Stacey Keating, Cathryn Bristow, and Rebecca Artis, and promising young guns Cheyenne Woods, Daniela Holmqvist, Rebecca Lee-Bentham, Sally Watson, Carly Booth, and Ashley Ona.

Here are the prime-time pairings:

10th tee, 8:05 am: Lydia Ko, Charley Hull, Stacey Keating
10th tee, 8:15 am: Laura Davies, Gwladys Nocera, Sarah Jane Smith
10th tee, 12:40 pm: Sophie Gustafson, Christel Boeljon, Daniela Holmqvist
1st tee, 8:15 am: Lorie Kane, Kristie Smith, Camilla Lennarth
10th tee, 1:30 pm: Kyu-Jung Baek, Jia Yun Li, Shelly Shin
10th tee, 7:55 am: Lindsey Wright, Valentine Derrey, Cheyenne Woods
1st tee, 8:05 am: Nikki Campbell, Linda Wessberg, Ashley Ona
10th tee, 12:30 pm: Melissa Reid, Sarah Kemp, Bree Arthur
10th tee, 12:20 pm: Joanna Klatten, Rebecca Artis, Trish Johnson
1st tee, 12:10 pm: Becky Brewerton, Mi Hyang Lee, Hannah Burke
1st tee, 8:25 am: Minea Blomqvist, Julia Boland, Stacy Lee Bregman
10th tee, 7:45 am: Tamie Durdin, Marta Silva Zamora, Caroline Afonso
1st tee, 12:40 pm: Stephanie Na, Cecelia Cho, Ashlee Dewhurst
1st tee, 12:20 pm: Caroline Martens, Jessica Speechley, Yu Yang Zhang
1st tee, 12:30 pm: Xi Yu Lin, Beth Allen, Whitney Hillier

On paper, nobody in the field is in Ko's league, but how she deals with the pressure of defending a title she won as an amateur in her 4th start as a professional in front of the home crowd after being the subject of sometimes harsh media scrutiny for the 1st time in her golfing career and while dealing with jet lag is anyone's guess.  If I had to pick who's ready to give her a run for her money, I'd single out Christel Boeljon (who tied Ko in the Bahamas), much-heralded KLPGA rookie Kyu-Jung Baek, 3-time winner on the ALPG in 2014 Joanna Klatten, and ex-JLPGAer Nikki Campbell.  Let's see who's ready for prime time!

1 comment:

Colin N.Z said...

Interesting first round. Favourite Lydia Ko had an ordinary start but came back with 5 birdies on the front 9. Although there is a lot of interest here there is no television coverage as the cost according to N.Z Golf would be $500,000. The total prize pool is only NZ$334,000. I would have attended but it’s a long way from my beautiful Bay of Islands.