Kiwi teenager in sizzling form for Open
Lydia Ko of New Zealand. Photo: Harry How
TEENAGE sensation Lydia Ko will take ominous form into next week's Australian Open in Canberra after putting herself in pole position to win her country's biggest tournament.
The 15-year-old is tied for the lead with South Korea's Seon Woo Bae going into the final round of the New Zealand Open at Christchurch on Sunday.
The pair are level at six under par, with Bae charging up the leaderboard with a stunning eight-under 64 on Saturday.
Canberra's Nikki Campbell is in fourth and will have to overcome a two-shot deficit to record the fourth win of her professional career and her first since 2010.
Campbell started the day with a share of top spot at three under, before dropping a shot on the par-four third.
Birdies on the fifth, 10th and 11th holes had the 32-year-old among the leaders, but a bogey on the 16th left her with a one-under 71 to be four under for the tournament.
Ko will be one of the main drawcards at Royal Canberra when the Australian Open visits the national capital for the first time from February 14-17.
She burst on to the scene last year when she entered the record books as the youngest winner of an Australian Ladies Professional Golf tournament, winning the women's NSW Open at age 14.
Seven months later, Ko captured the women's Canadian Open, beating the previous mark for the youngest winner on the LPGA tour.
Ko's achievements led to her on Friday earning an invitation as one of nine amateurs into the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the first major of the season for the LPGA tour in April.
The Australian Open has a history of unearthing young stars, after 19-year-old Jessica Korda came from the clouds to collect last year's title at Royal Melbourne.