Ko rekindles memories of a Norman invasion for Canberra pro
Lydia Ko shows her age through her iPod and club covers. Photo: Colleen Petch
The puppy golf club covers and pink ipod betray the fact she's just 15, but Lydia Ko is already a sporting giant.
Soon after her brilliant 10-under 63 at the Australian Open on Thursday, the New Zealander plugged in her ipod for a three-hour practice session.
This was her time. Her way of escaping the spotlight and media frenzy she's endured since she became the youngest winner of a professional event at last year's NSW Open. In a recent interview for Golf Digest she said Korean hip-hop band BigBang is her favourite ''because it has good-looking guys''.
Born in South Korea, the leading women's golf country right now, Ko moved to New Zealand when she was six.
Her parents didn't play golf, but she became obsessed with it after her aunt gave her a couple of clubs just before her move.
Ko wowed galleries with her round on Thursday that included one eagle and 11 birdies, and proved it was no fluke on Friday, carding a four-under par to sit one shot behind leader Colombian Mariajo Uribe (15 under).
Her composed round-one performance - playing in a group with her idol, former teenage prodigy Michelle Wie and world No. 1 Yani Tseng - drew comparisons with Greg Norman from Royal Canberra pro Mark Brooker, who followed the teen for most of her round.
"I caddied in a tournament in 1987 when Greg Norman shot 10 under and it was pretty much heading along the same lines as that," Brooker said, noting Ko's "chess-like" precision.
"He was well under after the first nine and so was she. She was six-under after the first nine with no pars, so that's frightening.
"I was only a little bit older than Lydia when I caddied in that, but it's been all those years until there's been another 10 under here."
Despite Ko's fast start to the tournament, no matter where she finishes, she won't pocket a cent of the $1.2 million on offer, her amateur status making her ineligible for prizemoney.
She also won the US Women's Amateur title, which gave her entry to the Canadian Open. There she shot 13 under par over four days to become the first amateur to win an LPGA tour event in 43 years.
Last weekend she displayed some rare emotion when she won the New Zealand Open, but she's shown nothing but composure as she chases a third national title.
Ko has resisted turning professional ''until I'm ready''. Her peers insist she already is, but she plays golf because she loves it, not for fame or fortune.
Her dominance of world golf has happened so quickly, her official website remains under construction.
''Welcome to my world, thanks for your support, and come back soon,'' it says.
The world has wasted no time welcoming her, and Australian fans undoubtedly want her to come back soon.