9 Feb 2012 - A new challenge for Lydia Ko.
Queenstown - Teenaged golf sensation, Lydia Ko, has accepted an invitation to play in the inaugural New Zealand PGA Pro-Am Championship at The Hills, in Queenstown, in late March 2012. Lydia Ko will be one of the leading players in the invitational amateur field for next month’s event at The Hills. In all, 64 celebrities and amateurs will be given the chance to rub shoulders with the professionals, as part of a two-ball, best ball competition over the final two days of the tournament.
Lydia Ko underlined her status as the world’s best amateur, when she became the youngest ever winner of a professional tournament at the New South Wales Open in January. At 14 years and nine months, she easily eclipsed the previous record of 15 years and eight months held by Japanese superstar Ryo Ishikawa, who now plies his trade on the US PGA Tour.
She has seldom been out of the limelight since and in 2011 became the first ever recipient of the Mark H McCormack Medal, awarded to the top ranked golfer on the newly established Women’s Amateur Golf Ranking. In the past week she has received invitations to participate in the US Open and US Amateur Championships later this year, which is a clear sign of her growing status in world golf.
NZPGA Championship Organising Committee Chairman John Hart says Lydia was one of the first players on the list of invitees and they are thrilled she has agreed to play.
“We first approached Lydia to see if she would like to participate in the tournament as one of our invited celebrities pre-Christmas. We are delighted that this tournament now will form part of her hectic schedule over the next few months. Her recent outstanding successes in Australia show that she is undoubtedly one of New Zealand’s most exciting young athletes. This tournament will be a rare opportunity for the New Zealand public to watch her in action”.
The New Zealand PGA Pro-Am Championship is one of 30 tournaments Lydia Ko is now planning to play in 2012. However, despite the busy schedule, she jumped at the chance to play at The Hills.
“I can't wait to come down to Queenstown and play the first ever NZ PGA Pro-Am Championship. Like last year, this year has been one of many firsts, and I haven't had a minute to have a breath, however this event will be a more relaxing one for me. 2012 has been amazing so far, so this week will be real fun for (coach) Guy (Wilson) and me.”
“This Pro-Am event is totally unique for me as it will give me the opportunity to play alongside a leading Australasian male golf professional in a team format on one of NZ’s best Courses, The Hills. I have never been down to Queenstown but I hear it is one of the most beautiful places in the world.
“I really appreciate the offer to be one of the chosen few to come down and spend a special week down at The Hills.”
NZ PGA Pro-Am Championship organisers have already announced several players in the professional field, including 10 time US PGA Tour winner David Frost from South Africa and New Zealanders Phil Tataurangi, David Smail, Mark Brown, Michael Hendry and Gareth Paddison.
For further tournament information please visit www.pgachampionship.co.nz
Lydia Ko: Fact Box
World Amateur Number 1
North Island Strokeplay Champion 2009, 2010, 2011
2012 New South Wales Open Champion
2012 Australian Strokeplay Champion
2012 New Zealand Strokeplay Champion
2012 New Zealand Matchplay Champion
2012 Co-medalist US Women’s Amateur Championship
New Zealand Women’s Open – 7th 2010, 4th 2011
To arrange an interview with Lydia Ko or Organising Committee Chairman John Hart please contact:
NZ PGA Pro-Am Championship Communications Manager,
Tel: 027 440 9964