Lydia Ko all the rage in Christchurch
BY Bruce Young | ALPG Tour | 2012 New Zealand Women's Open | Preview | 14 Feb 2012
After what had been a brilliant week at the ISPS Handa Australian Women’s Open at Royal Melbourne last week, the Ladies European Tour and the ALPG Tour of Australia head across the Tasman to Christchurch for this week’s ISPS Handa Women’s New Zealand Open at the Kristie Kerr designed Pegasus Golf Club.
Two days after the event in 2011 the devastating series of earthquakes hit the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand with the loss of 184 lives.
That the event has even been able to return to the region is testament to the determination by New Zealand Golf and the City of Christchurch to ensure the economy there is given as much support as possible.
Two months ago the BMW New Zealand Men’s Open was held at nearby Clearwater Resort and proved a success and there is every reason to believe this week will be the same and offer the residents of Christchurch a distraction as they continue to rebuild their lives after a horror twelve months.
Pegasus Golf Course lies some 25 minutes north of Christchurch’s CBD and has played host to this event for the past two years, the two winners at this venue to date having been Laura Davies and Kristie Smith.
Smith will tee it up again this week although seems a little out of sorts with her game at present and will seemingly need to rely on her positive memories of this event to play well this week.
The favourites are likely to come from the likes of New Zealand’s 14 year old superstar, Lydia Ko, Australian LPGA Tour player Lindsey Wright, two time runner-up in this event, Sarah Kemp, who was the leading Australian at last week’s Australian Open and Frenchwoman Joanna Klatten.
Ko has taken all before her in amateur golf in recent weeks including wins at the Australian Amateur Championship and the NSW Open and her leading amateur performances at the RACV Ladies masters on the Gold Coast and again at last week’s Australian Open.
Ko finished 4th in this event last year at the age of 14 so given what she has achieved in the interim it is fair to assume she is much better placed this year to win her own national open.
Kemp’s runner-up finishes in this event were at Clearwater and at Pegasus so this is a golf course on which she has played well previously and given her good tournament last week at Royal Melbourne she could do very well. She also finished 12th last week so should on paper at least be a good chance.
Lindsey Wright found form at the NSW Open and although not at the top of her game at present, is a class player when right, having finished inside the top five in three major championships.
Klatten won the Victorian Open in early January and is considered by many to be a great prospect in the year’s ahead.
American Danielle Kang gave us some hint at her class with a good week at Royal Pines recently and Frances Bondad, a winner on the Ladies European Tour last year, did the same with a round of 63 during that same tournament
The tournament has been reduced from 72 to 54 holes for this week’s event and gets underway on Friday.
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