In partnership with Lydia Ko, New Zealand Golf has announced three recipients of the 2019 Lydia Ko Scholarship with Juliana Hung, Carmen Lim and Michelle Lee all securing the chance to play and learn from our best. The trio will have to make changes to their New Year plans and will now travel to Orlando for the experience of a lifetime and have the opportunity to play and train with the former world number one and her team from 1-3 January. The motivation behind the scholarship is so Ko could give back to the game by inspiring the next generation of females to strive for the top to see what it takes to get there and help grow the number of New Zealanders competing with her on the LPGA Tour. With all three players making it through to the top 32 at the New Zealand Amateur Championship at Wairakei Golf & Sanctuary overnight, it was an exciting day of good news for the young trio. “I’m super excited to go meet Lydia and go play with her after following her career for such a long time,” said Lim.
“Ever since I started golf I have looked up to her and she is such an inspiration, one day I just want to be like her. “Her personality and the way she handles herself is impressive and I have never been to America before so I’m looking forward to learning heaps over there.” It was hard to ignore the surroundings here in Taupo where Lim is forging some more success. “It’s so beautiful and you can’t compare it to anywhere else in New Zealand, it’s probably one of the best courses I have ever played at.” Hung, the current New Zealand Stroke Play champion is having a year to remember after not only winning that title at Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club, but also competing in the Youth Olympics last month in Buenos Aires.
“I was so happy when I heard and I think spending a few days with her will be amazing and I will benefit heaps from it,” smiled Hung. “I was practising next to her I was so nervous, so it’s exciting to be able to so she her and spend some time with her.”
Ko is excited at the opportunity to host the three Kiwis and proud to be able to provide support back to females in golf to show recognition of the support she received along her phenomenal journey. “I received support from so many people as I grew up and I’m proud to be able to give something back,” said Ko. “I am really pleased to be able to work with New Zealand Golf and use the scholarship with the intention to help the next wave of young golfers rise and compete on the LPGA Tour." Through the Lydia Ko Scholarship, both New Zealand Golf and Ko hope to attract more interest from the emerging talent within the women’s game.