Golfer Lydia Ko pledges winnings to Nepal quake relief

DALLAS (AFP) - World number one Lydia Ko said on Wednesday she would donate any LPGA winnings this week to earthquake relief in Nepal.

The New Zealand sensation was 17 when she ascended to the top of the golf rankings this year, becoming the youngest golfer to reach the summit.

She turned 18 last week, and continues to show her maturity on and off the course.

"Obviously it was very unfortunate when I got to hear that there was an earthquake in Nepal," Ko said on Wednesday as she prepared for the LPGA's North Texas Shootout starting on Thursday.

"We had a big one in New Zealand, too, a couple of years ago, and it affected a lot of people. There it was in Christchurch, where we call it the Garden City, but now it still has the name, but there is still evidence of what happened there.

"Natural disasters you can't do much about. Sometimes it's hard to be prepared for it, so I thought, those people there, nice people and very innocent, so I wanted to give this tournament's earnings and donate it to them." Chances are good she could come up with a significant contribution.

Ko will be playing for her third win of the season and is coming off a victory at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic last weekend.

Although Ko has never played in Texas, she might have ended up living in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area where this week's tournament is held.

It was one of the cities under consideration when her US base was being selected.

"Actually before we decided to move to Orlando, Dallas was another city where we were maybe thinking of moving to," she said. "It definitely feels different to Orlando.