Lydia Ko lets go of ‘perfect golf’ before first major

Lydia Ko is looking at the big picture.

The 24-year-old Returns to Mission Hills Country Club in California, where she holds the course record, for the first LPGA major of the year knowing she doesn’t need to play “perfect golf.”

Ko won on the course as a teenager five years ago and finished as runner-up last year with the lowest final round score in LPGA major Championship history.

Being “free” and “aggressive” is Ko’s Mindset this week a she prepares to make off on Friday (NZT) in what is the end of an era for the event.

Now called the Chevron Championship the major will move to Texas next year after 50 years in California.

The course is not what it was when Ko won. What is different too.

“I’m hitting it a lot longer off the tee the last couple of years than when I played and won in 2016 and the course has changed too, I think in the last couple of years they’ve brought the Fairways in and grown the rough a lot more, “Ko said.

Ko is targeting a top-10 finish this week.

After winning her 17th LPGA title at the Gainbridge tournament in Florida in January, Ko was forced to miss tournaments when she tested positive for Covid-19.

She was back on the golf course last week where she tied for 12th at the JTBC Classic.

“I didn’t hole many birdie opportunity putts last week so hopefully a few more will drop here. The course is in such a good shape that I feel like as long as I play solid golf what you’re going to get is going to be a pretty true Testament of how you’re playing. “

However, Ko’s focus is beyond the Chevron Championship. She is looking at the season as a whole thanks to her Coach Sean Foley.

“I think one of the big things they got is just because I win one event doesn’t make me a better person. It doesn’t, in that split second, change who I am.

“I’m trying to get better in increments and hopefully to be more of a consistent player down the road as much as I want to play good golf now.”

Coming in 2022, the former world no.1’s ball striking was under the microscope. It still is.

“I know that my confidence rides a lot alongside that … and making sure that I’m not getting technical and just being free and aggressive when I’m out there playing.”

Winners at Mission Hills Country Club leap into Poppie’s Pond at the 18th hole – a tradition that will be lost when the major moves.

Ko will want to do it one last time.

rnz.co.nz

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