Kiwi golf prodigy Ko hints at pro decision

WELLINGTON - Teen golf sensation Lydia Ko returned home to New Zealand Wednesday saying her anticipated decision on turning professional was on hold for two months while she focused on school work.

Conjecture about when the prodigy will join the paid ranks has surrounded Ko ever since she become the youngest winner of a professional golf tour event when she won the New South Wales Open as a 14-year-old in 2012.

Now 16 and fifth on the LPGA rankings, Ko is a four-time winner alongside the professionals but has been unable to accept more than US$2.0 million in prize money and millions more in endorsements as she remains an amateur.

She fuelled speculation about her future after finishing second in the Evian Championship in France on Sunday, hinting she was close to joining the LPGA Tour full time.

"The next time you see me I may be a pro," she said after finishing two strokes behind 32-year-old Norwegian Suzann Pettersen.

But Ko arrived back in Auckland saying her focus now was on upcoming school exams and golf had to take a back seat.

"I'll be doing study pretty much every day. I don't want to see my golf clubs for about two months," she said.

"I've got exams until mid-November. I have had some invitations to tournaments from the end of November to December, but I haven't said yes or no at the moment because I'm going to concentrate on studies.

"We are thinking if I play them I might be pro then, that's what I was saying (in France), but I don't have a date. There hasn't been a clear decision on when. I may not be pro then."