Golf: Lydia Ko dreading Singapore heat at HSBC Women's Champions

Lydia Ko of New Zealand plays a shot on the 15th hole during the second round of the CME Group Titleholders at Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, Florida, on Nov 22, 2013. Singapore's stifling heat is the biggest concern for Ko as she prepares to tee off a
Lydia Ko of New Zealand plays a shot on the 15th hole during the second round of the CME Group Titleholders at Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, Florida, on Nov 22, 2013. Singapore's stifling heat is the biggest concern for Ko as she prepares to tee off at the HSBC Women's Champions tournament in February. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

Singapore's stifling heat is the biggest concern for golf prodigy Lydia Ko as she prepares to tee off at the HSBC Women's Champions tournament next month.

The 16-year-old New Zealander is among the biggest draws of the Feb 27-March 2 event, which carries a prize purse of US$1.4 million (S$1.75 million).

The teenager, ranked fourth in the world after turning pro in October, first played here at the Queen Sirikit Cup last year, where she led the Kiwis to a runners-up finish.

"I remember it was really, really hot," she said during a phone interview with Singapore media on Wednesday.

"My body conditioning has to be better this time, especially considering the field that's been put together."

Ko's entry means the world's top four golfers will feature at the Sentosa Golf Club. The "Big Three" - South Korean No. 1 Park In Bee, Norway's Suzann Pettersen (No. 2) and reigning champion Stacy Lewis (No. 3) from the United States - have also been pencilled in.

Nonetheless, the spotlight is firmly on the soft-spoken Ko, who became the youngest winner on the LPGA Tour in 2012 and has five professional wins to her burgeoning name.

But the Seoul native, who recently changed her coach and playing equipment, played down talk of adding more records and titles in her first full year on the Tour.

She said: "2014 is going to be a learning curve for me as I get to grips with travelling and playing regularly on the professional circuit.

"I hope to live up to the expectations too - but it's more self-pressure rather than people saying I must do well."

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