Waiting on the driving range at Pinnacle Country Club, 15-year-old Claire Hollingsworth was able to finally meet her idol, Lydia Ko, at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G. Hollingsworth was the subject of the first #DriveOn spot outside of LPGA Tour players, launched at the 2020 LPGA Drive On Championship at Reynolds Lake Oconee. The story explored her journey since being left in a small wooden box near an orphanage in China two days after birth. Hollingsworth was later adopted by a golf-loving family half a world away, where she learned that although she may be small, she is mighty, and can achieve whatever she puts her mind to.
Ko and Hollingsworth have developed a special bond in the past few years, exchanging Zoom calls, messages and autographed shoes, but had never met face-to-face. That all changed on Thursday, where an excited Hollingsworth soaked up every moment of the experience, as did Ko.
“When I heard about Claire, the #DriveOn story is pretty inspiring. I think there were a lot of connections like between Claire and I, so really cool to be able to meet,” said Ko, who will have Hollingsworth as an inside-the-ropes observer during the first round on Friday. “I know with there being no fans and everything, it was hard and with everything getting pushed back, this was a great location. This is such a nice golf course and I think we're meant to have really good weather the next few days. I hope Claire enjoys it.
“In my perspective, really nice to meet Claire and see her after I feel like we've been pen pals for a while.”