New Zealand teenager Lydia Ko, who at the weekend became the youngest player to win a pro golf tournament, hopes to compete at a US major this year, her coach said Tuesday.
The South Korean-born amateur created history when she won the New South Wales Open in Australia on Sunday at the age of 14 years and nine months, eclipsing Ryo Ishikawa of Japan's mark of 15 years, 8 months set in 2007.
Ko's coach Guy Wilson said the prodigy, already ranked the world's top female amateur, planned to wait "three or four" years before turning professional.
But he said the Auckland-based golfer, who moved to New Zealand with her family when she was five, hoped to experience playing in the United States this year if she was granted an age exemption and finances permitted.
Wilson said he had approached organisers of the Kraft-Nabisco tournament at Palm Springs in April, the first major on the women's pro circuit, about waiving the rule prohibiting players aged under 18.
"I asked for an exemption to play a couple of months ago, but haven't heard," Wilson told Fairfax Media. "At this stage we couldn't afford to go but things can change."
As an amateur, Ko had to forfeit the Aus$18,750 ($19,900) winner's cheque from the NSW Open, which went to runner-up Becky Morgan.
Wilson said Ko, who still attends high school when not playing in tournaments, was already shouldering the training schedule of a professional, clocking up 30-50 hours a week on the golf course.
He believed Ko's Korean background helped her cope with the demanding workload.
"It's why you don't find too many successful Kiwi kids, because the work ethic isn't there," he said.© ANP/AFP