Ko set for Sorenstam-type career, says swing coach

Sun Apr 5, 2015 1:17pm EDT
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

RANCHO MIRAGE, California (Reuters) - World number one Lydia Ko, a teenage prodigy who has already won six LPGA Tour titles, is on track to have "an Annika Sorenstam-type career", according to esteemed swing coach David Leadbetter.

Swede Sorenstam, a former world number one, racked up 72 wins on the LPGA Tour, including 10 major titles, during her career.

While the 17-year-old Ko has yet to claim a major victory, the New Zealander has become one of the most consistent players in the women's game with a temperament that Leadbetter describes as "just amazing" for somebody of her age.

"She's got that 'X' factor," Leadbetter told Reuters at the ANA Inspiration, the first women's major of the season, where Ko equaled Sorenstam's record run of 29 consecutive rounds under par on the LPGA Tour.

"Her greatest strength is that she doesn't have any weaknesses. She is good in every department, especially up here," Leadbetter said, pointing to both sides of his head.

"Her temperament and mental strength are just amazing for her age. You see young players hit the ball well, but to be able to translate that into the results that she is achieving is absolutely incredible."

Ko, who was born in South Korea and moved to New Zealand when she was 6, piled up earnings of $2.09 million on the 2014 LPGA Tour, becoming the first rookie to surpass $2 million in a year.

She claimed her sixth LPGA title at the Women's Australian Open in February before recording her third triumph on the Ladies European Tour at last month's New Zealand Women's Open.   Continued...

Lydia Ko reacts to her tee shot on the second hole during the first round of the ANA Inspiration at Mission Hills CC - Dinah Shore Tournament Course. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports