Lydia Ko said she’d been dreaming of being an Olympian and winning a medal since she was 9. The wait was worth the while for Ko when she won a silver medal in the women’s golf in Rio today.
Ko, the world No 1, was never going to catch South Korean Inbee Park, who won the tournament by five strokes. But she was locked in a tough battle with half a dozen other golfers for the minor medals.
In the end, Ko’s coolness under pressure and a couple of vital putts were enough to earn her the silver.
Park shot 268, 16 under par. Ko finished on 273, one ahead of Shanshan Feng of China. Par was 71 and Ko shot 69, 70, 65, 69.
Ko sank an absolute pressure putt on the 18th. It lipped the cup and finally dropped.
“I hadn't been putting well today,” she said. “So many close putts went close but ended up not dropping.
“Coming down the stretch I tried to play a little more aggressively. It worked in my favour coming down 16. It was a dramatic finish.
“Us players were nervous and excited for that putt in front of us. I think we made it very exciting for the fans and everyone watching.”
The first New Zealanders to congratulate KO were the sevens silver medallists Ruby Tui and Theresa Fitzpatrick.
Ko told them: “Silver is a good colour.”
The 19-year-old said the medal was a dream come true for her.
“This is something I've always dreamed about. I can't believe it's come true. I'm so proud of myself and my team,” she said.
Eric Murray and Hamish Bond were among several big-name athletes on the course supporting Ko.
“I loved hearing their support. There's not many times I can cross paths with other New Zealand athletes.”
She said one of the best things about her Olympic week was to meet the other New Zealand athletes and to see her country’s flag waving.
She said that supported really helped her over the crucial final few holes.
“It really helped push me through knowing I was doing it for all the athletes and for New Zealand. Hopefully I made them proud. I was so proud to see all our gold and silver medalists.”Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games Lydia Ko Golf