Lydia Ko (Getty Images)
Cape Town - World No 1 women's golfer Lydia Ko of New Zealand is eager to begin her quest for Olympic gold when golf returns to the games on Wednesday.
The 19-year-old from South Korea has been looking forward to competing in Rio since learning that golf would be included for the first time since 1904.
"I've been super excited since they announced in 2009, and to know that right now, in a couple days, I can officially be an Olympian," she said earlier this week. "I think it's amazing.
"I would have never imagined myself to be in this position. I've always watched the Olympics. But to know that there are people that are going to watch me compete in the Olympics, I think is just a great feeling and just a huge honor to represent New Zealand in the Olympics.
"You can never take that, being an Olympian, away from you. And no matter the result, I think it's just going to be a great accomplishment just to be here and represent your country in the Olympics."
Ko, who was born in Seoul but moved to New Zealand as an infant, will have plenty of competition from the South Korean contingent, which includes Inbee Park, Sei Young Kim, and Amy Yang.
Third-ranked Brooke Henderson of Canada is another threat, as are the American duo of Lexi Thompson and Stacy Lewis, ranked fourth and seventh respectively.
South Africa’s Ashleigh Simon and Paula Reto are also among the world’s top
women golfers set to take the Olympic stage in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday.