Lo­cals to play with Ko

Central Otago Mirror - - LAKES DISTRICT SPORT -

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.

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