Ko ready to come of age

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 November, 2007, 12:00am

Jimmy Ko Ming-chak believes the combination of intense practice, an experienced caddie and the disappointment of previous performances will help him become the first local amateur to make the cut since the tournament became a European Tour sanctioned event.

Ko, 19, who earned a berth at Fanling this week thanks to a stunning victory at the tournament's qualifying event last month, will be playing in his fourth consecutive Open, but has so far flattered to deceive on the big stage.

'I haven't been at my best, that's for sure,' said Ko, in reference to his previous Opens, which have all resulted in missed cuts.

'I've been very nervous and uncomfortable in the past, but I'm a different player - a much more confident player.

'I'm really feeling good and if I play as well as I know I can, I'll have a great chance to play through to the weekend. I feel I'm much better prepared this year.'

Ko, who will tee off in the first group at 6.55am, said a six-month stint in California has a lot to do with his change in attitude.

'I played a lot of good golf in America,' he said. 'I was able to take advantage of a really good course, great practice facilities and a lot of good tournaments. That has really helped me improve and I'm feeling much more relaxed going into this event. Unlike previous years, I'm going to enjoy the situation, enjoy the tournament and play my own game.'

Ko, who hails from Sha Tin, will also be able to call upon the experience of China's number one ranked amateur golfer Wu Ashun, who has agreed to caddie for him throughout the tournament.

'Ashun is a great player, a very relaxed player. He'll be a great help to me as he's very cool-headed. I'm lucky to be able to count on his support,' he said.




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