Teen star Lydia Ko leads in Australian Open women’s golf

Updated 14 February 2013
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Teen star Lydia Ko leads in Australian Open women’s golf

CANBERRA, Australia: South Korean-born 15-year-old Lydia Ko shot a 10-under 63 yesterday to take the first-round lead in the LPGA Tour’s season-opening Women’s Australian Open.
The New Zealand-based amateur won the New Zealand Women’s Open last Sunday for her third victory in a professional tournament. Last year, Ko won the New South Wales Open in Australia to become the youngest player to win a pro tour event and the Canadian Open to become the youngest LPGA Tour winner. She also won the US Women’s Amateur.
Ko opened with a bogey on the 10th hole, birdied the next four holes and eagled the par-5 15th. She bogeyed the 16th and birdied Nos. 17-18 to make the turn at 6-under 30 at Royal Canberra. Ko added birdies on Nos. 2-4 and 6, dropped a stroke on No. 8 and closed with her 11th birdie.
“I was in a really good group to start off with,” said Ko, grouped with top-ranked Yani Tseng and Michelle Wie the first two rounds. “I was pretty nervous when I saw the draw that I was playing with two of the big names, but I mean the weather was beautiful. I think we all enjoyed our time out there.”
While still in high school, she hasn’t had time to spend in class this year due to her golf commitments.


“I’ve got the Thailand Open next week and then the New Zealand LPGA Championship,” Ko said. “After that, I will start opening books.” Colombia’s Mariajo Uribe was a stroke back while South Korea’s Jiyai Shin was two behind after a 65. Canada’s Rebecca Lee-Bentham, playing in one of the final groups of the day, Ayako Uehara of Japan and South Korea’s Lee Mi-hyang shot 66 to be tied for fourth.
Tseng, the Australian Open winner at Commonwealth in 2010 and 2011, opened with a 68 in her first tournament of the year. Wie, making her first appearance Down Under, shot a 74.
“I played very solid,” Tseng said. “I didn’t putt as good, but I’m pretty happy I shot 5 under for first round of the year.” Tseng was impressed with Ko’s maturity.
“Five under is still a good day ... but to Lydia 5 under is nothing!” she said, laughing. “I mean it was very fun to watch her play golf today.
“She still looks 15, I don’t know how she hit the ball that well. I think she pushed me up a little bit, too. ... She was on fire. She could’ve shot a 12 or 13 under today.” Stacy Lewis shot 69 and fellow American and defending champion Jessica Korda had a 70.


Juan Antonio Pizzi tells Saudi Arabia to improve or forget about beating Japan

Updated 18 January 2019
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Juan Antonio Pizzi tells Saudi Arabia to improve or forget about beating Japan

  • Green Falcons face tough route to final starting with Japan in the second round on Monday.
  • Coach warns players they have no chance of ultimate glory unless they go up a gear in the UAE.

LONDON: Juan Antonio Pizzi has told his Green Falcons they will have to learn the lessons of their defeat to Qatar if they are to have a chance of beating Japan in the second round.
Pizzi’s players went into the Group E clash already assured of a place in the knockout stages, having beaten North Korea and Lebanon in their first two marches. But the prospect of topping the pool and avoiding four-time champions Japan was still motivation enough to avoid temptation to treat the Qatar match as a dead rubber.
In a lackluster performance — a marked contrast to the energy and creativity of their first two matches — the Green Falcons failed to impose themselves in the game and paid the price when two Almoez Ali goals gave the win and points to Qatar.
That left Pizzi annoyed, warning his players they cannot afford to make the same mistakes against Japan.
“We tried to impose our style of play on Qatar, but our finishing and our ability to make the right decisions at crucial moments were not there tonight,” Pizzi said.
“We were good in the first 30 minutes, but an individual error for the first goal and then another mistake from a set-piece saw us concede twice.
“I am just starting to think of the game versus Japan. As I have stated before, I respect all of the teams that are here and do not feel either superior or inferior to anyone.
“It is now important for us to learn from the mistakes we made against Qatar and perform better when we play Japan.”
The first rule of any tournament is to get through to the knockout stages. That Saudi Arabia have managed that, having failed in the 2011 and 2015 editions, is a success. Add to that the fact they qualified for their first World Cup in 12 years last year, and it is clear that Pizzi’s team is still one on the up.
If there is a positive to take out of the Qatar defeat it is that the side’s first poor performance in the tournament came in a group match having already made it through, rather than in a winner-takes-all encounter such as the one they face against the Blue Samurai in Sharjah on Monday.
“We will bounce back. I don’t feel that we are not as good as (Japan) in any way,” Pizzi said.