Locals to play with Ko
High-flying golfer Lydia Ko is jetting into Queenstown for a charity match this weekend – and the lawyer who is hosting the match didn’t realise Ko would be such a huge star when scheduling the game only months ago. The game was organised during Queenstown’s Winter Festival in June, when the Queenstown Coastguard organised a charity auction with a prize of two rounds of golf with 15-yearold Ko up for grabs. Queenstown law firm GTodd Law owner Graeme Todd was one of the winning bidders, and has given the opportunity to play with Ko to six of his clients. Since June Ko’s profile has skyrocketed. Her rapid rise to golf’s upper echelons began with stunning victory at the Canadian Open last month, where, as an amateur, she steamrollered a field including 19 of the top 20 professionals, two weeks after winning the prestigious US Amateur. Commenting on Ko’s performance, golfing great Tiger Woods suggested Ko was a better player at 15 than he had been at the same age. ‘‘Of course we didn’t know how huge she would be now, when her appearance was secured, and we are very excited that she will be here with us on Saturday. I think some of the guys are a bit nervous about the prospect of being seriously beaten by a 15 year old, ’’ Mr Todd said. NZ PGA Pro-Am Championship director Michael Glading has officially offered Ko a place in the four-round professional men’s event next year.
Star risen: Lydia Ko during her last Queenstown appearance, in March at Arrowtown’s NZ PGA Pro-Am Championship hosted at The Hills this year.