Golf: Pressure on teen sensation Lydia Ko to deliver this year

Interview with golf prodigy Lydia Ko on the eve of the HSBC Women's Champions, Feb 26, 2014. New Zealand golf prodigy Lydia Ko admits that the expectations are firmly on her young shoulders to impress in her maiden LPGA Tour season. -- ST PHOTO:
Interview with golf prodigy Lydia Ko on the eve of the HSBC Women's Champions, Feb 26, 2014. New Zealand golf prodigy Lydia Ko admits that the expectations are firmly on her young shoulders to impress in her maiden LPGA Tour season. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

New Zealand golf prodigy Lydia Ko admits that the expectations are firmly on her young shoulders to impress in her maiden LPGA Tour season.

Since becoming the youngest person to win a professional golf tour event in Jan 2012, the 16-year-old added two Tour titles to her resume, before her widely-publicised decision to turn professional last October.

She is already ranked fourth in the world, and is tipped to follow in the footsteps of Tseng Ya-ni, who was the youngest golfer, male or female, to win five Majors when she was 22.

"I think so," was the teenager's reply when asked if the pressure was on her to deliver this year.

"I think because I came actually with the two wins, it was like a bigger thing, and I didn't expect to win those, but those kind of came, and it all happened kind of quicker than what I would have planned a couple years ago."

The teenager is in town for the US$1.4 million (S$1.77 million) HSBC Women's Champions, which tees off from tomorrow to Sunday at the Sentosa Golf Club.

Ko points to down-time with friends in Auckland - listening to Bruno Mars tunes on the beach or a night out at the cinema - for helping her deal with newfound fame.

She said: "I know lots of people call me a teen phenomenon and all that. I'm just Lydia. I just want to be me - my friends don't treat me like a superstar."