PALOS VERSES ESTATES, CALIFORNIA | Lydia Ko just surpassed her 25th birthday and is still the youngest player to win an LPGA Tour event, which she accomplished when she won the Canadian Women’s Open at age 15 on August 26, 2012. Since then, Ko has won 16 more LPGA events in her career and edged toward another victory finishing T3 at Palos Verdes.
Ko said, “This week, I stayed really patient out there. Even if I was out of position or over par for the day, I tried to not give up and believe that I could make it up on the next hole or the holes coming .”
The last few weeks, Lydia said she had lost some confidence in her game. “There were weeks that I thought I was going to have a good week, and then it didn’t end up being that way. I was a little disappointed with the way I drove it around the course the last couple days, but other than that, just to see my ball striking from the first couple days was a bit of a confidence booster.”
Although Ko took a week off to refresh in Hawaii, she was still disappointed about swinging too quickly and found her ball going left. “The first couple days were actually really good and probably the best driving I had in a really long time. I’m going to focus on that. It just shows that things I’ve been working on have been good. I have to keep taking it shot by shot and hopefully be more consistent,” she said.
The final round was a battle, and Lydia persevered through some back pain that had fans questioning why she was getting treatments on the course. She said, “I get a little bit of tightness, and due to that, sometimes I have pain. It’s a pretty hilly golf course, so I wanted to get around and still finish strong. I felt like the physio would make me feel better. .”
Overall, Ko said she was happy with her performance and will continue to polish up her game in preparation for the Founders Cup. She said, “I felt like two different people off the tee from the first two days to the last two days. It’s not easy out there, and I know there is still a lot of good, so I’m focusing on that.”
Lydia has now been competing in LPGA events for almost ten years after turning professional in 2014. She famously became the youngest player to win two women’s major championships and recorded the lowest round in a game of golf with a 62 at the Chevron Championship- formerly known as the ANA Inspiration- in 2021.
Similar in age to Lydia at the beginning of her career, 16-year-old amateur Anna Davis made the cut this week, competing against the best of the LPGA field.
“I obviously am not an ANWA champion as she is, but she played amazing golf here. For her to make the weekend just shows what type of player she is. I’m sure this is only the start of her amazing career,” Ko said.
The New Zealand native said there are pros and cons to being a younger player at this level. “I was a little bit more carefree then just because I didn’t have a lot of experience. I’m able to handle the pressure a little bit better now. When I was younger, I didn’t love playing in front of the fans because that wasn’t what I was used to. It’s nice to see them (now). I’m still in the progress of my learning journey.”
Ko has one of the shortest memories in the LPGA and can bounce back from mistakes with ease. She advises younger players to keep working at it and expect the bad moments.
The no. 3 Rolex ranked player tries to separate her identity from her golf game. She said, “Julie Foudy this week told me- golf doesn’t make us; it’s what we do. – I think that’s such a big thing for me to keep learning and embracing for the rest of my career.”