The gulf in class between a pro golfer and an amateur is vast, as was shown when world number one Lydia Ko played in the New Zealand Women’s Open pro-am with her good friend Israel Dagg.
Ko and the 27-year-old Dagg, who has featured 48 times for the All Blacks, became friends when he featured in the ‘Ko Goes Pro’ video from 2013, which reached a global audience on various social media platforms.
Dagg doesn’t have an official handicap but believes he would play off a 12 or 13. Although featuring on the rugby field in front of thousands of screaming fans is nothing new for Dagg, he admitted that he was nervous about playing golf in front of a crowd for the first time, especially since he had undergone shoulder surgery recently.
“I didn’t want to stuff it up, but I guess it brings out the best in you,” said Dagg following his round.
“I was a bit skeptical because I thought I’d be pretty wobbly [after surgery] but I hit a few good shots through the middle and it was just good fun. It was just about hanging out with Lydia.”
Dagg notched a birdie on the par-five 10th at Clearwater, which was a net eagle, and smashed a 300m drive down the eighth fairway, only to miss this short birdie putt.
Ko, meanwhile, illustrated why she is the odds-on favourite to win this weekend’s event when she birdied her first six holes.