TEENAGE golf sensation Lydia Ko – who became the top ranked woman amateur in the world aged just 13 – is on her way to Fairhaven next week.
Ko, now 14, will be in the New Zealand team that competes in the international Astor Trophy at the course.
She will be joined in the New Zealand team by another teenage prodigy Cecilia Cho, the world No.2.
Ko has amazed the golfing world with her exploits, so much so that overtures have been made for her to join the same management stable as Tiger Woods and Michelle Wie.
Earlier in the year, Ko became the first female to hold both the New Zealand and Australian amateur champion titles.
She has also competed against women professionals – she was fourth in the New Zealand Open and runner-up, beaten only by one shot, in the New South Wales Open.
Victory there would have made the youngest winner of a women’s professional tournament.
She also holds the distinction of being the youngest player on the Ladies’ European Tour, agd 12.
Ko was born in South Korea and moved to New Zealand with her family when she was only six.
Cho was also born in South Korea. In 2009, she won the New Zealand National Amateur Golf Championship, beating Ko in the final, and in 2010, she became the youngest winner of Srixon Women’s Australian Strokeplay Championship.
Their presence adds even more lustre to the Astor Trophy, practice for which gets underway on Monday, with the action starting next Wednesday, and going through until Sunday.
Formerly the Commonwealth Tournament, the competition is contested every four years.
It is played in a round-robin matchplay format, with foursomes each morning (8am start), and singles in the afternoon (12.30pm). Countries are represented by their leading golfers with all the players listed in the top 100 of the Ladies’ World Amateur Rankings.
It is only the elite that can take part, with all the players having a handicap of plus-one or less.
Organisers promise a festival of outstanding golf, and admission is free.
Great Britain and Ireland will be represented by Amy Boulden, Holly Clyburn, Kelsey MacDonald, Pamela Prestwell and Kelly Tidy.
Order of play
June 15: South Africa v New Zealand; Australia v Great Britain and Ireland
June 16: Great Britain and Ireland v South Africa; Canada v New Zealand
June 17: New Zealand v Australia; Canada v South Africa
June 18: Australia v Canada; New Zealand v Great Britain and Ireland
June 19: Great Britain and Ireland v Canada; South Africa v Australia
The Ladies Golf Union, who are organising the championship, have asked for volunteers to help with scoring and caddy duties.
Ring Fairhaven secretary Bob Thompson on 736741, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, if interested.